On a cold January day in our nation’s capital, just days before President Barack Obama took the oath of office, UConn engineering alumni, faculty and friends networked during a combined recruiting/social event held in conjunction with the national Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) 88th annual meeting. U.S. highways, bridges and rail are among the so-called “shovel ready” infrastructure areas identified by President Obama as important targets for unemployed Americans.
Dr. Nicholas Lownes, an assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), organized the 2009 UConn TRB reception, which he said was intended to serve as a forum for “Reaching out to young transportation professionals interested in graduate school, reconnecting with UConn alumni and friends, and showcasing UConn to a national audience with respect to our commitment to transportation research and education.” He was pleased with the large number of attendees, which included current students, academics and researchers, as well as transportation professionals from the public and private sectors.
UConn transportation researchers and students delivered 13 papers and presentations throughout the TRB meeting. Among the UConn CEE faculty attending the meeting were Drs. Lownes, John Ivan, Richard Christenson, Adam Zofka, John DeWolf and Norman Garrick; CEE graduate students included Hongmei Zhou, Craig Yannes, Eric Jackson, Adam Scianna and Jenna Nichols. They were joined by a faculty member from the Department of Geography, Dr. Carol Atkinson-Palombo. Their presentations addressed a variety of research topics, from traffic modeling, driver behavior and crash prediction to bridge health monitoring, roadway design features, asphalt mixtures, particulate emissions, and sustainable transportation planning.
The UConn reception provided a venue for the faculty and student researchers to expound upon their work and to network face-to-face with practicing professionals and alumni. Dr. Lownes remarked that the TRB meeting attracted on the order of 10,000 transportation and civil engineering professionals, and the reception brought greater visibility to the UConn research, allowing us to “elevate our reputation nationally simply by raising awareness.”
The UConn reception received corporate sponsorship from the transportation engineering firms Lochner, Wilbur Smith Associates, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.