Archives: Monthly Archives: April 2022

CEE Senior Design Project Winners!

Photo of the Civil Engineering booth area within Gampel Pavillion.

April 29, 2022

This afternoon, Senior Design Demo Day took place in Gampel Pavillion. Students across all engineering departments joined together to showcase all of their hard work this year. Everyone should be proud of how far they have come since their first week of college.

Congratulations to all of the graduating seniors and to the following SDP winners this year:

Civil Engineering

1st Place

Title: Modern Roundabout at the Intersection of Hunting Lodge Road and North Eagleville Road

Members: Kaitlyn Kondos, Nicole Martocchio, Joseph Mikulewicz, Avishan Montazer

Sponsor: VHB

Advisor: Shinae Jang


2nd Place

Title: Design of Site Work for Reconstruction of Washington Elementary School, West Haven, CT

Members: Fiona Casey, Aidan Fay, Katie Laresch, Meg Sirowich

Sponsor: Stantec

Advisors: Manish Roy, Philip J. Katz, P.E.


3rd Place

Title: Design of the Extension of Constitution Boulevard West in Shelton, CT

Members: Samuel Baum, Brad Kelle, Jacob Zakrzewicz

Sponsors: Luchs/DeCarlo & Doll

Advisors: Terrance Gallagher, P.E., Ronald J. Nault, P.E., Manish Roy


Environmental Engineering

1st Place

Title: Centredale Manor Restoration

Members: Scott Ackerman, Madeleine Hasson, Andrew Macklin, Taryn Shannon

Sponsor: Loureiro

Advisor: Alex Agrios


2nd Place

Title: Design of New Stormwater Management and Septic System for Fire Station 140, Tolland CT

Members: Stone Brown, Jessica Canty, Caroline Sabo

Sponsor: CHA

Advisor: Manish Roy


3rd Place

Title: Bolton Water Connection

Members: Ethan Lo, Kaelie Moran, Zachary Sagendorf, Juanita Toro

Sponsor: Town of Bolton

Advisor: Alex Agrios

2022 ASEE CE Division Officer Elections: Dr. Shinae Jang

geometric, blue american society for engineering education logo

April 23, 2022

Last week, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) announced the officer election results for their Civil Engineering Division. We’re very proud to congratulate one of our faculty members, Dr. Shinae Jang, on her selection for a new role in ASEE.

ASEE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting educational efforts in engineering and engineering technology. It comprises over 50 divisions that support a plethora of engineering fields and efforts.

For the ASEE Civil Engineering Division, this year is the first time there is an all-female slate of officers:

Division Chair: Tonya Nilsson

Vice Chair/Program Chair: Jennifer Retherford

Freshman Director: Mónica Palomo

Newsletter Editor: Shinae Jang

Dr. Jang has been an active member within the organization for two years and even received the Emerging Leader Fellow Award last year at the 2021 ASEE Annual Conference. After this year’s conference in June, Dr. Jang will officially begin work on the newsletters.

Check out ASEE’s website here!

Sensor Work Makes the Cover of ES&T

detailed diagram explaining the hs-ism soil nitrogen sensor research

April 14, 2022

Recently, Environmental Science & Technology accepted a research paper lead authored by PhD student, Yingzheng Fan. ES&T is the premier journal within the field of environmental engineering. The research covers accurate and continuous monitoring of soil nitrogen which is critical for determining its fate and provides early warning for swift soil nutrient management.

"Traditional soil nitrogen measurements are usually ex-situ using lab-based approaches that cause severe time delay. Our solid-state ion selective membrane (S-ISM) sensors address this imminent challenge by coating ultra-thin polyacrylamide hydrogel on the S-ISM surface to absorb water contained in soil. Tests using real-world soil obviously showed the enhanced accuracy and stability of these sensors. This pioneering study establishes a framework capable of real-time in situ, long-term continuous soil monitoring, a crucial technology with profound impacts on soil system resilience, nutrient management, contaminant removal, and energy-saving practices."

To learn more, feel free to read the full paper here!

UConn Eversource Energy Center Partners with Dominion Energy

Image of transmission power lines against a sunset

Power lines and storms (Photo Credits: Yoonjin Lee)

April 9, 2022

Last month, Dominion Energy UConn signed an agreement with UConn to support a new, preliminary study focused on the development of an Outage Prediction Model (OPM) for Dominion Energy’s Virginia and North Carolina service territory. At UConn, Dr. Diego Cerrai is the PI for this initiative, with the support of Dr. Emmanouil N. Anagnostou (Co-PI, Associate Dean), three graduate students, and one post-doctoral associate.

In the past month, Dr. Cerrai has also been named the Associate Director for Storm Preparedness and Emergency Response for the Eversource Energy Center (EEC). The new study officially began in January 2022 and will last through December 2023.

The proposed model will be used as a tool to prepare for storm-related power outages in the electric distribution system. While transmission lines move electricity across large distances and are supported with tall towers, distribution lines are the power lines that we usually see on the sides of roads. Based on these distribution lines’ proximity to nearby vegetation, they are regularly interrupted during storms by falling trees or branches which cause outages.

The UConn EEC already has developed outage prediction models for Eversource Energy and AVANGRID, showing great predictability in the weather patterns of New England. The model analyzes data and predicts storm-related outages in advance of rain/windstorms, thunderstorms, snow/ice storms, extreme storms, and tropical storms. The interactions that occur in the relationship between weather, trees, and infrastructure, vary by storm type.

For example, a snowstorm’s impact can differ if precipitation is heavy or wet versus when it is dry; wet snow readily sticks to trees and lines, pulling them down making them susceptible to breakage. The team is determined to improve such models to not only replicate the real-world consequences of storm damages but to also help prepare repair crews beforehand.

Eversource’s current OPM is operational in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire. The new study will continue to strengthen existing outage models with the inclusion of mid-Atlantic storm data. Through this opportunity, researchers such as Dr. Cerrai will be able to carry over their existing expertise to generalize a predictive model that will be more accurate to geographic regions outside of New England.

One of the main research goals is to further validate the existing models in New England for other areas and make iterative improvements. In these first steps, this collaboration has the potential to inspire future projects, expanding to more states further south. The keyword is preparedness—these models continue to impact the way the world prepares for and recovers from storms.

After having the first kick-off meeting with Dominion Energy in mid-February, Dr. Cerrai proudly shared his hopes for the future: 

“I have been working towards this goal for a long time, and I am very happy to start this collaboration because it is important for our students and more in general for the scientific community to gain additional knowledge on the relationship between weather, vegetation, and infrastructure in a way we have not seen before. It is also important for our industry partners because we will share our expertise gained with the UConn OPM, which is a state-of-the-art model that has been developed for all storm types, which is one of a kind."

At Dominion Energy, Shad Hedrick who works in the Emergency Preparedness Center states, “Leveraging an outage prediction model to develop plans is exciting. I’m looking forward to the partnership with UConn.

Congratulations once again to the Eversource Energy Center and to Dominion Energy regarding this promising agreement!