Recent awards and recognitions from our department

September 4, 2020

Over the past few months, the faculty members and students in our department received numerous awards which are listed below.

Student Departmental Awards

Carmen A. Velasco – Outstanding Graduate Student
Ernesto Perea – Outstanding Senior
Alexandra Lee Brown- Outstanding Junior
Alan James Birney – Outstanding Sophomore

National Association of Homebuilders Student Chapters

Mikaela Smith of the UNM Lobo Builders was named an Outstanding Student for the NAHB Student Chapters.

AGC Student Chapter

The UNM AGC Student Chapter competed in the Associated Schools of Construction student competition in Sparks, NV.

New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute

PhD students Jancoba Dorley and Aashish Khandelwal (advisor Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon) won competitive research grants from the NM WRRI.

NSF Funding

Ishti Anwar and Mahya Hatambeigi (advisor John Stormont) received NSF I Corps funding for the further development and marketing of an automated surface profiler that they invented (US Provisional Pat. Ser. No. 62/885,711). The funding enabled them to develop a booth at the annual AGU meeting (20,000 attendees) to present their invention and market UNM CCEE.

New Invention

Ishti Anwar (advisor John Stormont) was the lead inventor of “a new approach for sealing crude oil leakage through wellbore cement fracture”, US: Provisional Pat. Ser. No. 62/869,504. This invention was recognized as Outstanding Graduate Student Research and STEM Research Symposium Award for oral presentation 2020.

More Student Awards

Dr. Cherie De Vore (advisor Jose Cerrato), who recently obtained her PhD at UNM CCC and is affiliated with CWE, was granted a 2020 NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship to Stanford University.

PhD Student Carmen Verlasco (advisor Jose Cerrato) received a UNM Leadership and Involvement Award. Dr. Jorge Gonzalez-Estrella, former Research Assistant Professot with CWE and Dr. Cerrato’s group, is now Assistant Professor at the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Oklahoma State University.

Second Place Paper

Roya Masimi (advisor Fernando Moreu), Nicolas Yerpes, and Jorshua Rosa’ paper titled, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Equipped with Lasers, Cameras, and Algorithms Measuring Bridges’ Condition under Trains” won second place at the ASCE EMI-Structural Health Monitoring and Control Student Paper Competition in May 2020.

Transportation Awards

Undergraduate Maria Cruz (advisor Nick Ferenchak) was inducted into the Minority Fellows Program of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and had an article selected for publication. Two UNM students were awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship by the TRB.

The student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers won 3rd place in the Collegiate Traffic Bowl.

Faculty Activity

Nick Ferenchak is appointed as Research Coordinator to the Transportation Research Board Pedestrian Committee.

Haobing Liu is appointed as a member of the TRB Committee on Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation.

Nick Ferenchak organized the New Urban Research for the Congress for the New Urbanism conference.

Fernando Moreu hosted the American Railroad Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) Commit

tee 10: Railroad Bridge Maintenance and Management for its meeting at UNM.

Fernando Moreu leads the inaugural SMILab Webinar (SMIWeb) which attracts more than 100 from around the world.

Rafi Tarefder publishes his first textbook, Pavement Design: Materials, Analysis, and Highways with McGraw Hill 2020.

John Stormont led the UNM cooperative agreement with the Norwegian Research Center (NORCE) for research related to wellbore integrity for offshore oil and gas wells. The agreement includes UNM personnel conducting experiments at the large-scale test facilities in Stavanger, Norway, and a PhD student from the University of Stavanger in residence at UNM to work in our labs. The agreement is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

John Stormont and Mahmoud Taha successfully demonstrated their patented sealant technology in Mont Terri underground rock laboratory in Switzerland. The work is supported by a consortium of oil and gas giants including BP, Chevron, Total, and Petrobas and SNL.