Rizwan Karim ( PhD, Student): Rizwan Karim is a PhD Student in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Enginerring at Iowa State University (ISU). He received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Engineering and Technology, Taxilla, Pakistan with honors. He then received the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue his Master of Science at ISU with a focus on Structural Engineering. For his MS thesis, Rizwan worked for Professor Behrouz Shafei on the material design and structural configuration of link slabs. His study included full-scale structural tests in the laboratory, along with supporting numerical simulations. Continuing to the PhD program, he currently works on the development of non-proprietary UHPC mixtures for various structural applications. During his MS program, Rizwan was a member of 4-H, a positive youth development and mentoring program as well as the Pakistan Student Association. Rizwan was also a senator in the ISU’s Graduate and Professional Student Senate. He is currently the president of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s ISU Student Chapter.
Meysam Najimi (PhD, Student): Meysam is a postdoctoral research associate at the Iowa State University (ISU) in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE). He was formerly a postdoctoral research associate at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), received his PhD from UNLV in 2016. He has conducted research in the field of concrete technology since 2005. His research interests include Transport and Durability of Concrete, Supplementary Cementitious Materials, Alkali Activated Binders, Green Concrete, Self-Consolidating Concrete, Concrete Microstructure, Fiber-Reinforced Concrete, High-Performance Concrete, Ultra-High Performance Concrete, and Modeling Concrete Properties. He’s grateful for the opportunities to work on multiple UTC projects that provided experience related to structural engineering and concrete materials research. During his time as a postdoctoral research associate in the ISU CCEE Department, he worked on UTC funded projects related to Material Design and Structural Configuration of Link Slabs for ABC Applications and Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete Mix Design for ABC Applications.
Krishan Sritharan (BS, Student): Krishan Sritharan is an undergraduate student at Iowa State University (ISU) in electrical engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has been working in the ISU Structural Engineering Laboratories at the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) at ISU. During his time at ISU, Krishan has worked on a number of projects that include testing of an integral abutment project associated with Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) concepts. Other projects that he has worked on include several large-scale segmental beam tests using unbonded post tensioning and testing associated with an NCHRP 12-94 project at ISU. Additional efforts have included anchorage testing of prestressing strands in Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC). He expects to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in Spring 2021.
Meghan Cronin (MS, 2016): Megan finished her BS in Civil Engineering from Iowa State in 2014 and her MS from ISU in 2016. She worked under the ABC-UTC during her MS with research focused on available bridge rehabilitation alternatives and solutions that could be used by practitioners to complete rapid rehabilitation projects. She is a Structural EIT at Meyer Borgman Johnson, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her eventual goal is to teach at the college level. Whether that be on a large university scale or on a smaller community college level scale is still to be decided. In her spare time she enjoys swimming, exercising, playing cards, spending time with her family, watching movies, walking outside, and painting canvas.
Austin Dejong (MS, 2019): Austin was an MS student with a focus in Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University in May 2017. The ABC-UTC research project Austin was involved with was the Phase II investigation of the strength and durability of integral abutment connection details. This project involved revising and retesting two integral abutment connections from the Phase I study, as well as designing and performing laboratory tests on a new connection involving the presence of UHPC. These connections must not only be able to resist applied loads, but also must be able to be constructed utilizing ABC methods. Austin is a member of Chi Epsilon, where he served as President for the South Dakota State University chapter, as well as an Associate Member of ASCE. Austin graduated with his Master’s in the Summer of 2019 and is currently working as a Structural Engineer-In-Training with TSP, Inc. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Ashley Ecklund (MS, 2016): Ashley received both her BS (2013) and MS (2016) from Iowa State. During her time at ISU, Ashely worked on an ABC research project in the Bridge Engineering Center. The purpose of the research was to begin the process of developing crash-tested, prefabricated bridge railing that have durable anchorage details.
Kylar Oh (BS, 2018): Kylar received his BS degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University. His long-term goal is to become a geotechnical engineer and work toward a Professional Engineering license. After gaining several years of engineering work experience, he will plan to pursue an MS degree. Kylar was involved with the construction and dismantling of the laboratory test specimen related to the Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) integral abutment connection project.
Samuel Redd (MS, 2016): Sam is from Bloomington, Illinois and holds a BS cum laude in Construction Engineering and an MSc in Structural Engineering from Iowa State University. Sam spent one year during his BS and two years in his MS working with the Bridge Engineering Center and the ABC-UTC. His MS research was focused on the laboratory testing of integral abutment details, which he presented on in the July 2016 Quarterly Research Seminar. Sam now works for Felsburg Holt and Ullevig (Denver) as a Structural EIT. Outside of school, Sam was the president of the ISU weightlifting club and also enjoys volunteering with habitat for humanity. He balances most of his free time between reading and finding ways to stay active.
Shahin Hajilar (PhD, 2018): Dr. Shahin Hajilar is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. He received his B.Sc. of Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran in 2011 and M.Sc. of Civil Engineering with a focus on Structural Engineering and Mechanics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2014. He completed his Ph.D. with a major in Structural Engineering and minor in Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University in Spring 2018. The primary focus of his research is to develop novel structural details and construction materials that can be used in ABC applications. To date, he has published 10 peer-reviewed journal articles in high impact engineering and science journals, and 5 peer-reviewed conference papers; has accumulated nearly 360 citations; and has presented his research products at more than 10 international and national conferences and symposiums. The contribution of his research and teaching activities has been recognized with the Best Poster Award from the CCEE Graduate Student Research Showcase and Poster Competition and Iowa Better Concrete Conference. He is the recipient of both Research and Teaching Excellence Award from the Office of the President of Iowa State University. He was also selected by the Iowa State University’s Graduate College to serve as the Student Marshal in the Graduation Commencement Ceremony (Fall 2017).
Zhengyu Liu (PhD, 2018): Zhengyu was a PhD student in structural engineering at Iowa State University. He received his BS in 2008 from Shenyang University of Technology, China, and his MS from Iowa State University (ISU) in 2014. His Masters of Science research focused on studying the performance of wide bridge decks that don’t have a longitudinal joint. In 2014, he continued his studies at Iowa State University and his research at the Bridge Engineering Center (BEC) ISU under the guidance of Dr. Phares.H His research topic was related to connection details of adjacent precast box beam bridges. The final goal of his research is to investigate and solve the crack issue in the connection between box girders and build crack-free bridges. This research is a very important step towards greater adoption of accelerated box girder bridge construction. During the summer of 2015 Zhengyu participated in ISU’s Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) Program as a mentor to a high school junior on behalf of the ABC-UTC. He now currently works at the ISU Bridge Engineering Center as a Research Assistant.
Michael Dopko (MS, 2018): Michael was an MSc student in structural engineering in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. He received his BSc from Iowa State University in Civil Engineering, magna cum laude, in Spring 2016. Michael is from Makwa, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he grew up on a family farm. He was involved in the ABC-UTC link slab research project as a research assistant for Dr. Behrouz Shafei. His research focused on the identification of link slab materials that meet the expected strength and durability requirements. His research activities included in lab structural tests on link slab specimens as well as finite element analysis of link slabs and link slab bridges, particularly with ABC applications. Michael was an active member of the ISU men’s ice hockey team during his time as an undergraduate. He was a member of the Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society, ACI student chapter and ASCE student chapter.
Monica Diaz (BS, 2019): Monica Diaz was an undergraduate student in civil engineering at Iowa State University (ISU) in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering. She graduated in Spring 2019. Monica currently worked part time as an undergraduate teaching assistant for CE 306, Project Management for Civil Engineers. She previously worked on a research project investigating the use of different delivery methods and procurement methods related to Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). Having concentrated her coursework in the structural field of civil engineering, she hopes to be a part of a structural design team in the near future.
Mitch Honsa (BS, 2019): Mitch Honsa was an undergraduate student in civil engineering at Iowa State University (ISU) in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental. He worked part time as a structural laboratory technician in the ISU Structural Engineering Laboratories. During Mitch’s time working within the lab, he engaged in multiple research projects that include dynamic testing of beams, segmental externally post-tensioned beam, approach slab connections in bridge joints, and an integral abutment specimen related to Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). His eventual career goal is to work in the area of structural bridge design.
Jose De Jesus Alvarez (BS, 2019): Jose Alvarez was an undergraduate civil engineering student in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. He graduated in Fall 2019. During his time at Iowa State University, Jose has worked on research projects within the ISU Structural Engineering Laboratories as a structural lab technician. The multiple projects including dynamic testing of beams, Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) strong walls, a full-scale segmental externally post-tensioned beam, approach slab connection to bridge joint, and an integral abutment project related to Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). As a civil engineer, he hopes to continue being involved with structural design.
Eric Lezniak (BS, 2019): Eric was an undergraduate student in civil engineering at Iowa State University (ISU) in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE). He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in Fall 2019. His technical area of interest was structural engineering. After receiving his BS, Eric planned to move to the Chicago metropolitan area to rejoin his family and start his career in the structural engineering field. He was grateful for the opportunities UTC has provided him, both the research projects and the wonderful people involved have given him vital experience and wisdom related to structural engineering. During his time as a laboratory assistant in the CCEE Structural Engineering Laboratory, he had been engaged on a project related to non-proprietary Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) development. More specifically, he helped with the development of design mixes for UHPC bridge applications and helping with testing of UHPC cylinder specimens in the laboratory.
Michael Volk (MS, 2020): Michael graduated from ISU with his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in May 2020, and his Master’s in Civil Engineering in November 2020. While working as a research assistant at ISU Michael assisted with several research projects ranging from Transportation Management Plans to the bidding and contracting of ABC projects. The primary project he was involved in at the ABC-UTC was Methods for Accelerated Bridge Construction Projects Case Studies and Consensus Building.
Matthew Dahl (BS, 2020): Matt was an undergraduate student in civil engineering at Iowa State University (ISU) in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE). He received his bachelor’s degree in Spring 2020. His technical area of interest is structural engineering. After receiving his BS, Matt planned to attend graduate school in civil engineering at ISU. He’s looking forward to working on his own research, and he’s grateful for the opportunities to work on multiple UTC projects that provided experience related to structural engineering research. During his time as a laboratory assistant in the CCEE Structural Engineering Laboratory, he worked on UTC funded projects related to ABC repair of expansion joints and the ABC integral abutment project.
Zac Dietrich (MS, 2020): Zac Dietrich is a Master of Science (MS) student in Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University (ISU). He graduated in Spring 2020. He worked on a research project entitled, “Accelerated Repair and Replacement of Expansion Joints”. In particular, he focused on structural anchor bolt behavior for the expansion joints. He also assisted in the ISU Structural Engineering Laboratory, helped construct and test various specimens. After graduation, he plans to work in the field of structural engineering.
Kara Korthals (MS, 2020): Kara was an MS student studying Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. She received her BS in Civil Engineering from Iowa State in Fall 2018. Kara grew up in the small town of Bondurant, Iowa. She was involved in the ABC-UTC project looking at the accelerated repair and replacement of expansion joints in bridge under the guidance of Dr. An Chen. This project included formed and performed laboratory tests on quicker construction methods and materials. Kara graduated Spring 2020.
Noelle Weaver (MS, 2020): Noelle was a concurrent student studying Civil Engineering (CE) at Iowa State University. She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in 2019 and spent an extra year at Iowa State University to receive her Masters of Science in 2020. Noelle’s emphasis is Structural Engineering, so she began to work in the ISU Structural Engineering Laboratory, where the graduate students and faculty conduct their research. This helped her learn more about the way structures are built, and it prepared her for her future graduate research. In this laboratory, she worked on a variety of projects, including several projects associated with the University Transportation Center (UTC). Some of these were the Link-Slab ABC Applications project and the Accelerated Repair of Expansion Joints project. Upon graduation in 2020, Noelle planned to work as a Structural Engineer and apply the knowledge she gained from these projects to real-world applications.
Ning Zhang (PhD, 2020): Ning Zhang was a PhD student in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at the Iowa State University. She received her BS degree from Chang’an University and M.S. degree from Tongji University in China. Her Masters of Science research focused on studying the improvement of highway services based on the road network reliability. She is worked on the ABC-UTC Project’s, “An Integrated Project- to Enterprise-Level Decision Making Framework for Prioritization of Accelerated Bridge Construction,” under supervisor of Professor Alice Alipour. In this project, Ning developed a holistic decision making framework to prioritize and selected the candidates for ABC techniques under both operational and extreme event scenarios.