Author: EPA Rainworks Challenge 2nd Place Winners

April 27, 2022

Please congratulate our ENVE seniors Kelsey Adamson, Fiona Casey, and their team from Environmental Science, Landscape Architecture, UConn CLEAR and Facilities for their 2nd place award in the EPA Campus Rainworks Challenge. Their project submission was titled Ecologic L.I. Sound.  This challenge is a national design competition for applying and reimagining green infrastructure on college campuses. Read the full announcement here and check out their video below!

Author: 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

Author: 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!

Author: 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!

Author: 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!

Author: Book: Teaching about Race and Racism in the College Classroom

Book cover for teaching about race and racism in the college classroom. Bold red and blue text with sketches of pencils.

Teaching about race and racism can be a difficult business.

The following text is from Project Muse.


Students and instructors alike often struggle with strong emotions, and many people have robust preexisting beliefs about race. At the same time, this is a moment that demands a clear understanding of racism. It is important for students to learn how we got here and how racism is more than just individual acts of meanness. Students also need to understand that colorblindness is not an effective anti-racism strategy.

In this book, Cyndi Kernahan argues that you can be honest and unflinching in your teaching about racism while also providing a compassionate learning environment that allows for mistakes and avoids shaming students. She provides evidence for how learning works with respect to race and racism along with practical teaching strategies rooted in that evidence to help instructors feel more confident. She also differentiates between how white students and students of color are likely to experience the classroom, helping instructors provide a more effective learning experience for all students.

Read more here.

Author: The 1619 Project: Book on American History


book cover with blue background and serif font that says the 1619 project

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story offers a profoundly revealing vision of the American past and present

The following text is from


The 1619 Project is The New York Times Magazines award-winning reframing of American history that placed slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. The project, which was initially launched in August of 2019, offered a revealing new origin story for the United States, one that helped explain not only the persistence of anti-Black racism and inequality in American life today, but also the roots of so much of what makes the country unique. 

Read more here.

Author: March 30, 2022 Event with Pulitzer-Prize Winning Journalist, Nikole Hannah-Jones

eventbrite screenshot with nikole hannah-jones event advertised with maroon frame

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones in conversation with Manisha Sinha

The following text is from Eventbrite.


On March 30th at 2:00pm in the Student Union Theater, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, most famous for her work on the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, will be in conversation with UConn history professor Manisha Sinha. They will discuss Hannah-Jones' work as an advocate for people of color in journalism and as a writer working to change the way we think about race in the United States.

This event is restricted to the UConn community. Please register with a UConn email address. All registrations without UConn email addresses will be canceled. If you are part of the UConn community but do not have a UConn email address, write to us at

Read more here.

Author: Graduate Student, Saki Rezwana, receives WTS Scholarship

Saki Rezwana pictured above

We are very proud to congratulate one of our graduate students, Saki Rezwana, for receiving a WTS scholarship this year. Since the founding of WTS (Women's Transportation Seminar) International in 1977, the organization has focused on supporting women in the transportation industry. Their competitive scholarship selection process is based off of an applicant's transportation goals, academic record, and transportation-related experience through activities or industry.

Saki Rezwana is a third-year Ph.D. student in the field of transportation and urban engineering. She graduated from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation she worked on the international Nuffic-NICHE project as a project officer on the Bangladesh side for one and half years.

She joined the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at Wayne State University as a graduate student from Fall 2015 to December 2016.  A few years later, she joined UCONN's Civil Engineering department in Spring 2019.  Saki’s research interests are in Intelligent Transportation Systems and Traffic Engineering. She is currently working on an automated vehicle and pedestrian safety related project funded by the Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions (CAMSSE) In her free time, she loves cooking, photography and reading books.

Author: Dr. Diego Cerrai’s Research at UConn’s Weather Station

Dr. Cerrai at UConn's Weather Station

January 21, 2022

STORRS - Last Wednesday, Dr. Diego Cerrai was interviewed by NBC on his precipitation-based research. His work is in collaboration with NASA and other researchers across the world as part of the IMPACTS Mission. Check out the full article here to learn more it!