Some of the nation’s top transportation experts are gathering in Birmingham this week for the 2015 University Transportation Center Conference for the Southeastern Region.
The UAB School of Engineering is partner in three of eight University Transportation Centers (UTC) from the Southeastern Region. The eight UTCs were competitively selected for funding under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and help meet the nation's need for safe, efficient, and invironmentally sound movement of people and goods.
“This conference brings together a variety of transportation professionals, including university faculty members, students, practitioners, and public officials,” says Virginia P. Sisiopiku, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering and a co-chair for this year’s conference. “The aim of the conference is to disseminate information about ongoing activities at partner universities and strengthen collaboration among the academic community and the private and public sector agencies in the region.”
In a letter of commitment presented to President Barack Obama today, the UAB School of Engineering joined more than 120 U.S. engineering schools in announcing plans to educate a new generation of engineers expressly equipped to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing society in the 21st century.
Other engineering schools in the Southeast that are included in the announcement include, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Alabama A&M, and Vanderbilt. To view an interactive map of all participating schools, click here.
These "Grand Challenges," identified through initiatives such as the White House Strategy for American Innovation, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, include complex yet critical goals such as engineering better medicines, making solar energy cost-competitive with coal, securing cyberspace, and advancing personalized learning tools to deliver better education to more individuals.
“In many ways, the challenges identified through these initiatives are already at the heart of our work at the UAB School of Engineering," says SOE Dean Iwan Alexander, Ph.D. "Our faculty are currently working in a variety of fields, including biomedical devices, transportation, manufacturing, and clean energy, among others. In all those areas, we’re looking for sustainable solutions today that will help solve the problems of tomorrow.”
Each of the 122 signing schools has pledged to graduate a minimum of 20 students per year who have been specially prepared to lead the way in solving such large-scale problems, with the goal of training more than 20,000 formally recognized “Grand Challenge Engineers” over the next decade.
The scholarship is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and offers intensive overseas study in 13 critical-need foreign languages.
The CLS is highly selective; only 10 percent of applicants each year are selected for the award. Thompson is the 15th UAB student to win the CLS since 2007. Thompson, a civil engineering major, will spend nine weeks this summer participating in an intensive language institute in Hikone, Japan. She plans to integrate her studies into her career in civil engineering.
Robert W. Peters, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, recently received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
With more than three decades of involvement with the AIChE Environmental Division, Peters was chosen as the 2014 recipient of the award “for distinguished service to the Environmental Division of AIChE as Executive Committee Chair and Secretary; for leadership and guidance to industry on hazardous waste issues; and for initiatives on hazardous waste programming on behalf of the Environmental Division.”
His nomination references those leadership positions within AIChE, while also acknowledging his longstanding dedication to the division’s student program and his editorship of the journal Environmental Progress.
“This is a much deserved honor for Dr. Peters, whose work in environmental engineering has long been recognized among his peers throughout the country,” says Department Chair Fouad Fouad, Ph.D. "This prestigious distinction is a point of pride to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.”