Undergraduates advance CEGE research

Posted: March 21, 2021
2021 Undergraduate Research Fellows

Thanks to the generosity of committed donors, several CEGE undergrads will spend their summer seeking methods to improve mass transit and flood protection systems, reduce vehicle emissions, better determining how buildings collapse and disinfecting the water we drink.

Five students in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering will serve as 2021 Undergraduate Summer Research Fellows. The Fellowship gives deserving students the opportunity to conduct research with faculty members, on a full-time basis, during June, July and August. Allison MacKay, chair of the department, was pleased with the robust response to the fellowship program in only its second year in existence. “I am very excited to see the growth of the CEGE Summer Fellowship program this year and the diversity of the project ideas proposed by the 2021 Fellowship awardees,” she said.

In 2021, three of the Fellows will address transportation-related research:

  • Marissa McMaster, working with Professor Mark McCord and Ohio State's Campus Transit Lab (CTL), will address ways that data derived from automatic sensors installed on mass transit systems can be better analyzed and inform recommendations for future improvements of bus system performance around the world.
  • Mazin Al-Mahrouqi will investigate the concept of progressive collapse in structures including bridges. Collaborating with structural engineering faculty member Halil SezenMazin will investigate whether extreme events such as fire, earthquake or impact will cause failure of structural members including beams and columns. He will collect and analyze data to determine if sudden loss of a column or beam in a parking structure or bridge will lead to partial or total collapse of the structure.
  • Zixuan Dong and transportation faculty member Benn Coifman will use light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data processing to collect data from combustion, electric and hybrid engine vehicle acceleration in real-time traffic. The collaborators seek new sustainable, avenues of research devoted to reducing vehicle emissions. 

Other projects will utilize geographical information service (GIS) and address and an emerging method for water treatment:

  • Collin Lester and Ethan Kubatko, associate professor of environmental engineering, intend to improve current scientific models that predict storm surges which result from hurricanes and can cause injuries and, sometimes, fatalities as well as significant damage to infrastructure and the economy. The team will assess current models that simulate failure of flood protection systems and develop new approaches for potential improvement.
  • David McDonald will assist assistant professor Natalie Hull in her research focused on the use of ultraviolet (UV) light as a more accessible, sustainable water treatment solution.  McDonald will compare different wavelengths of UV light's effectiveness on microorganisms that pose challenges to this type of water disinfection. 

All CEGE undergraduate students are encouraged to explore research opportunities in the department. Recipients of the fellowship fulfill certain time, reporting and presentation requirements and receive a stipend in exchange for their efforts. Students who have already completed at least one year of research activities are given preference during the selection process.

The awards also represent another way in which alumni can engage with students in the department, which Professor MacKay stated was vital to CEGE’s mission of training Buckeye engineers. “I am grateful to our alumni donors who were open to new ways of supporting undergraduate student success via this research Fellowship program,” she said.

These opportunities will also help students cultivate skills they can utilize in their future professional and educational endeavors stated Karen Dannemiller, chair of the department’s Undergraduate Research Committee. “These students will conduct such innovative research projects,” she said. “Each undergraduate researcher will make important contributions to their field while also gaining valuable experience to support their future career.”

- Read about the 2020 cohort of CEGE Undergraduate Research Fellows

Category: Research