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Spring 2017 Civil Engineering Newsletter

Message From The Chair

Spring is perhaps the busiest time of year around the department. And although this newsletter shares more news about our faculty than about our students, most of this message focuses on our students and our efforts to improve their learning environments and student experience.

We are well ahead of last year in preparing for the ASCE regional competitions. The concrete canoe is curing in the BEL basement, and the steel bridge is ready for practice builds. This year, the ASCE Pacific Northwest Student Conference will be hosted by Boise State University on April 20-22. You may recall that we won last year’s coveted concrete frisbee contest and the environmental competition. This year, we have our eyes on taking first place in the concrete bocce ball competition — and others as well! There are 17 UI students who will be attending! Kudos to professors Kevin Chang (ASCE Faculty Advisor), S. J. Jung, Fritz Fiedler, Ahmed Ibrahim and our staff engineer Don Parks for working with our teams. I plan to be in Boise for the events and to cheer on our teams!

Spring semester means that Senior Design projects are well underway. This year, there are nine sponsored projects. We are grateful to all of our project sponsors: T-O Engineers, McMillen Jacobs Associates, University of Idaho, City of Coeur d’Alene, Coeur d’Alene Tribe Lake Management, Welch-Comer Engineering, STRATA, Inc., Mead & Hunt, Inc., 3J Consulting, Inc., J-U-B Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Walla Walla District), City of Moscow Paradise Path Committee and City of Moscow.

Spring also means EXPO 2017, the signature College of Engineering event on April 28 that features senior design work by students from all six departments in the college. This year, CE seniors will make technical presentations on their design projects, display both the concrete canoe and steel bridge, host a booth that highlights civil engineering as a career as well as one that focuses on the global water crisis and encourages the consumption of tap water instead of bottled water.

Patricia J. S. Colberg, Ph.D., P.E.

Department Chair & Professor, National Academies Education Fellow

Buchanan 104


UI Humanitarian Engineering Corps is planning their annual Fundraising Bash on Friday, April 28 at the 1912 Center in Moscow from 5:30-9:30 p.m. There will be live music, great food and a silent auction. Their goal is to raise money to return to Carani, Bolivia, where they have partnered with the local community to provide drinking water to individual houses. This summer will be the third of their multi-year commitment. If you can’t be in Moscow for the BASH, the University of Idaho is sponsoring a “crowdfunding” campaign from April 3-28, and HEC is one of the four featured beneficiaries: Donations of any size are welcome!

Members of the UI Humanitarian Engineering Corps in Carani, Bolivia.

In March, we completed renovation of our new student computer lab and increased the number of computers from 13 to 28. The next item on our ‘wish list’ is to upgrade the audiovisual equipment in the lab. We have also completed the renovation of a small room across from the computer lab for use by student clubs and senior design students. This summer, we will renovate the graduate student offices, including a space for Teaching Assistants that gives them a separate venue to work with and mentor undergraduates.

The last news I have is that the Department’s name is changing. It is not ‘official’ yet, but all of the various levels of voting and approval are complete. We will be the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering — or CEE, for short! The faculty first discussed a potential name change in February 2016. We did not make this change lightly and solicited extensive input from students, the Department’s Advisory Board, many individuals in the regional civil engineering community and colleagues at other universities. We anticipate that our new name will attract more students. It also aligns with the majority of civil engineering programs worldwide who have already adopted this name.

As always, your feedback and other inquiries are welcome. If you plan to be in Moscow, please let me know. I would be happy to personally welcome you back to campus and to the Department of Civil (and Environmental) Engineering.


Patricia J.S. Colberg, Ph.D., P.E., Professor

The new Civil Engineering student computer lab
Civil Engineering's new student computer lab.
The renovated Civil Engineering lounge
Civil Engineering's student club room.

Civil Engineering Professor Erik Coats and Co-authors Receive Prestigious Wastewater Award

Professor Erik Coats and two co-authors received the 2016 Eddy Wastewater Principles/Processes Medal by the Water Environment Federation, a technical and educational organization representing water quality professionals and associations from around the world.

The Eddy Medal honors Harrison Prescott Eddy, a prominent engineer and a pioneer in the field of wastewater treatment. The medal is awarded annually for research that makes a vital contribution to the existing knowledge of the fundamental principles or process of wastewater treatment.

Coats and his co-authors, UI research scientist Cynthia Brinkman and former UI student Zach Dobroth, received the award for their research, titled, “EBPR Using Crude Glycerol: Assessing Process Resiliency and Exploring Metabolic Anomalies.” Coats accepted the award at the technical exhibition and conference in New Orleans last September.

“WEF is proud to recognize Professor Coats et al. for their contributions to furthering resource recovery in the wastewater treatment process. Their laboratory-scale research successfully demonstrated an enhanced removal of phosphate from wastewater that uses an anaerobic zone fed with crude glycerol which is a byproduct of biodiesel manufacturing,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “They are joining a distinguished group of award-winning water professionals who have provided exceptional contributions to the water sector that helps support and advance sustainable, smart water management.”

Coats, Dobroth and Brinkman’s work advances research into removing phosphorus from wastewater sources, which is vital to improving overall water quality. Governments across the country invest millions of dollars annually to treat municipal and farm wastewaters to remove phosphorus using both chemical and biological solutions. Coats and UI researchers found that crude glycerol, a byproduct of biodiesel manufacturing, can be used to achieve excess phosphorus removal from wastewaters.

Cynthia Brinkman and Erik Coats
Cynthia Brinkman and Erik Coats.

Students Awarded Coral Sales Scholarships

Shane Warmbrodt (Coeur d'Alene) and Courtney Sell (Boise) have been selected as recipients of the 2016 Coral Sales Company Scholarships. The students were recognized at a dinner at Sangria Grill in Moscow hosted by Regional Sales Manager Wayne Barstow. They were joined by faculty members Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, Kevin Chang and Patricia Colberg.

Coral Sales Company of Portland, Ore., offers two $1,000 scholarships each academic year to outstanding individuals, one male and one female, pursuing civil engineering degrees at UI. Recipients of the scholarship must intend to pursue a career in highway/transportation engineering or highway construction, possess outstanding leadership qualities and participate in extracurricular civic and professional activities. They must also reside in the Pacific Northwest for a period of at least six years and be a student of senior or graduate standing.

Upon graduation in May, Warmbrodt will be begin graduate studies in civil engineering with Kevin Chang. Sell has accepted a position as a transportation engineer with the Washington Department of Transportation in Vancouver.

Shane Warmbrodt and Courtney Sell
Shane Warmbrodt and Courtney Sell

Bayomy Elected Life Member of ASCE

The American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) has awarded Professor Fouad Bayomy, Ph.D., P.E., the Life Member Award. William Meeks, president-elect of the Inland Empire section of ASCE, presented the award to Bayomy during the annual banquet that was held at the Red Lion Hotel in Spokane in Feburary. In his presentation of the award, Meeks highlighted Bayomy’s long service with ASCE and especially his many contributions to several national ASCE committees.

Bayomy’s experience is focused on the design, construction, evaluation and management of highway and airport pavement systems. He has served as a consultant for many government agencies and private companies in the USA and overseas. He chairs or serves on several national committees that deal with pavement technologies and engineering education, including the ASCE, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Association of Asphalt Pavement Technologists (AAPT). Since 1991, Bayomy has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on construction materials and pavements at the University of Idaho and manages several research projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Idaho Transportation Department and the National Science Foundation. He is a registered professional engineer and has been a member of ASCE since 1981.

CE Faculty Appointed to National Committees

Assistant Professor Ahmed Ibrahim has been appointed to chair the ACI-343-A Bridge Design Committee of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). ACI is an international society that provides information on engineering and construction practices with nearly 20,000 members in over 100 countries. Ibrahim is charged with leading the development of a new document on the design of reinforced and prestressed concrete bridges and guideways, which will be a valuable reference for bridge professional engineers worldwide.

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Assistant Professor Emad Kassem has been appointed to four committees with the Transportation Research Board (TRB). TRB is one of seven program units of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, providing independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conducts other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. Kassem will serve as a member on the following TRB Standing Committees: Asphalt Binders (AFK20), Surface Requirements of Asphalt Mixtures (AFK40), Emerging Design and Construction Technologies (AFH30), and Asphalt Pavement Construction and Rehabilitation (AFH60).

Emad Kassem, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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CE Faculty Lead Projects Addressing Critical Transportation Challenges

The University of Idaho’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology (NIATT) has been awarded $4 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct collaborative research over the next five years as a member of two University Transportation Center consortiums.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced $300 million in grants to 32 University Transportation Centers (UTC) to advance research and education programs that address critical transportation challenges facing the nation. Each UTC is a consortium of colleges and universities that come together to form a unique center of transportation excellence on a specific research topic.

Located in UI’s College of Engineering, NIATT is a returning member of the Region 10 UTC: Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium — also known as PacTrans — which is focused on improving mobility of people and goods. PacTrans is led by the University of Washington and includes researchers from Oregon State University, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Washington State University, Boise State University and Gonzaga University. As a member of PacTrans, UI faculty will receive about $450,000 per year over the next five years to continue research on traffic operations and control, advancement of non-motorized traffic modes, highway and vehicle safety, connected vehicle technology and applications, and transportation network modeling and optimization. Professor Ahmed Abdel-Rahim is the Principal Investigator of the PacTrans team.

Ahmed Abdel-Rahim, Ph.D., P.E.

Director of NIATT & Professor

Engineering Physics 113C


In addition, NIATT joins the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and University of Washington as a member of the newly established Center for Safety Equity in Transportation (CSET). As a CSET partner, UI researchers will receive about $350,000 per year over the next five years to conduct research, education and outreach activities focused on understanding the behavior of roadway users in rural, isolated, tribal and indigenous communities, as well as understanding the safety needs and causes of traffic crashes in those areas and developing technology solutions. Assistant Professor Kevin Chang is the Principal Investigator of CSET.

Kevin Chang, Ph.D., P.E.

Assistant Professor

Engineering Physics 110B


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Civil Engineering
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