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Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Chair Search

Donald Webster

Interview Dates:
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 to Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Donald Webster, Ph.D., P.E. is a Professor and Associate Chair for Finance and Administration in the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia.  Dr. Webster earned a B.S. from the University of California, Davis (1989), and M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Georgia Tech faculty in September 1997 after completing a postdoctoral research appointment at Stanford University and holding a non-tenure-track faculty position at the University of Minnesota.  During his time in CEE at Georgia Tech, he has served as an Affinity Group Leader 2012-2014, the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs 2007-2012, the Associate Chair for Graduate Programs 2012-2013, and the Associate Chair for Finance and Administration 2013-present.

Dr. Webster’s research expertise lies in environmental fluid mechanics focused on the influence of fluid motion and turbulence on biological systems.  His contributions have been in three arenas: 1) illuminating the fluid mechanics processes related to sensory biology and biomechanics; 2) developing advanced experimental techniques and facilities; and 3) translating research results into bio-inspired design.  Examples of innovative and creative contributions include turbulent chemical plume tracking by blue crabs, biologically-inspired design of a robotic tracker of turbulent chemical plumes, tomographic (3D) particle image velocimetry of zooplankton propulsion (krill, copepods, pteropods, daphnids), zooplankton aggregations around oceanic thin layer structure, and copepod-turbulence interactions.  He has authored or co-authored over 80 refereed research articles and is a Fellow of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO).  In 2016, his work on pteropod (i.e., the flying sea snail) biomechanics was featured in the New York Times among over eighty news agencies.

Dr. Webster's educational activities include serving as co-PI on an NSF-supported Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program that trains graduate students in the physics, chemistry, and ecology of chemical and hydrodynamic signaling in aquatic communities (2001-2008).  He also recently led two sub-committees of the Commission on Creating the Next in Education to define the educational future of Georgia Tech.  Dr. Webster played a key role in developing the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering program and served on the steering committee to develop the new Ph.D. program in Ocean Science & Engineering.  Starting in 2013, Dr. Webster implemented a blended (or “flipped”) classroom pedagogy in his undergraduate Fluid Mechanics and Dynamics courses and subsequently published several research articles to document the effectiveness of the classroom innovation.  Dr. Webster has won numerous awards including the Class of 1934 Outstanding Innovative Use of Education Technology Award, the Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award, and the British Petroleum Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.  He also was an invited participant in the 2016 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium.

Dr. Webster has been very active in professional service.  He has served on the editorial board for the journal Experiments in Fluids since 2006 and has served on numerous conference and symposium advisory committees as well as other society committees.  Dr. Webster developed several special topical sessions for Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography/American Geophysical Union conferences and used this forum to define the area of “Ecological Fluid Mechanics”, which broadly seeks to address the role that fluid motion, flow gradients, and chemical stirring play in shaping organism behavior, interactions, recruitment, reproduction, and community structure.  He is co-chairing the 2018 Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting of the American Physical Society with over 3000 anticipated attendees.  Further, Dr. Webster outreach efforts include presentations at local schools, and he developed a webinar series addressing oceanic turbulence in conjunction with the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) – Ocean Systems.

Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Chair Search

Roberto Ballarini

Interview Dates:
Monday, January 22, 2018 to Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Roberto Ballarini is Thomas and Laura Hsu Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Houston. He joined the University of Houston after having served for eight years as James Record Chair at University of Minnesota and for twenty year as Leonard Case Professor of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. Ballarini’s multidisciplinary research focuses on the development and application of theoretical and experimental techniques to characterize the response of materials to mechanical, thermal, and environmental loads. He is particularly interested in formulating analytical and computational models for characterizing fatigue and fracture of materials and structures. His research, which has been applied to problems arising in civil engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, materials science, electromechanical systems, biological tissues and prosthetic design, has been published in the most prestigious journals including Nature and Science, and have been featured in the popular press, including the New York Times Science Times, American Scientist, Business Week, Geo and Pour La Science. His current research involves theoretical, computational and experimental studies of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoscale biological and synthetic materials, bioinspired design of composite structures and materials, seismic-resistant structural steel systems, and size effects in quasibrittle materials and structures. He is past-President of the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute and serves as Editor of the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics. 

Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Chair Search

Lynn E. Katz

Interview Dates:
Monday, January 29, 2018 to Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lynn Katz is the Bettie Margaret Smith Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and the Director of the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of Texas-Austin. She received her B.S.E. in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, M.S. degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Texas, she was an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maine. Her research examines reaction phenomena at interfaces for the development of treatment technologies for drinking water, stormwater, greywater and contaminated sediments. The extension of her research from the molecular level to field scale application is one of the major goals of her research program, and she has successfully developed collaborations with faculty within the environmental engineering and water resources program, across campus and at national laboratories to accomplish this goal.   Dr. Katz has served as president of the environmental engineering division of American Society of Environmental Engineering, board member and treasurer for the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors and president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Foundation.  Over the past several years, Dr. Katz has co-led the effort to develop an undergraduate Environmental Engineering Degree program at the University of Texas. She was responsible for the program vision, curriculum development, and coordinating course collaborations across campus to establish a truly interdisciplinary program.  

Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Chair Search

Aris P. Georgakakos

Interview Dates:
Monday, February 5, 2018 to Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Dr. Aris P. Georgakakos has a civil engineering Diploma from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and Masters and Ph. D. degrees in civil and environmental engineering (water resources) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Georgakakos is a tenured Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech and Director of the Georgia Water Resources Institute. 

Dr. Georgakakos’ research interests and publications are in disciplines related to integrated water resources planning and management: Hydrologic simulation and forecasting; remote sensing of hydrologic variables; reservoir system planning and operation; flood and drought disaster forecasting and mitigation; hydro-thermal power systems optimization; crop modeling and agricultural assessments; wetland and other environmental resources protection; control of wastewater treatment plants; climate change assessments; multi-objective optimization; statistics; and hydro-economics.  His technology transfer and professional training activities aim to develop and implement prototypical information and decision support systems combining models from the above disciplines with observational data and GIS. Dr. Georgakakos’ information and decision support systems are used operationally for river basin planning and management in Georgia and the southeast U.S., California, several East African countries (including those sharing the Nile River), Brazil, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, and China.

Dr. Georgakakos’ research and technology transfer activities have been sponsored by U.S. and foreign organizations: U.S. Geological Survey; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Science Foundation; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; World Bank; United Nations Development Program; U.S., European, and Asian International Development Agencies; several African Ministries of water, irrigation, energy, and environment; Chinese Ministries of Education and Water Resources; the Yangtze River Authority; other river basin authorities and nonprofit organizations; electrical and water utilities; NGOs; environmental associations; and citizen groups.

Dr. Georgakakos served as an Associate Editor for Water Resources Research, Advances in Water Resources, and the Journal of Hydrology (on-going), as well as in state and national committees advising the State and U.S. Governments on critical climate adaptation and water resources policy issues.  Dr. Georgakakos was the Convening Lead Author for the water resources chapter of the 2014 National Climate Assessment.