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Kristen Wyckoff’s Summer Studies in Beijing

After spending a summer in Beijing, China, as an EAPSI Fellow (East Asia Pacific Summer Institute), I can easily say it was one of the best and most

Jacob Gardner, Steven Anderson, Alex Titus, Courtney Wagner, Kristen Wyckoff, and Cecelia Springer outside the National Art Museum

productive summers I have ever had. The program brings a group of Americans over to various countries to work on a research topic of their choice. All projects for the China fellows were approved by both the National Science Foundation, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since my academic advisor at The University of Tennessee has a contact at Tsinghua University in Beijing, I was able to use him as a host for my summer research. One of the attached pictures is of the three of us outside the School of Environment on Tsinghua University’s campus. This summer I took my stormwater, rooftop runoff research to a new level by adding locations in China. This work will be a part of my dissertation which I plan to defend in the next few months.

Eric Carlucci and Kristen Wyckoff at the top of the Great Wall.

Kristen at the Olympic Park









Aside from research this summer, I was able to explore most of Beijing. One of my favorite places was the Olympic Center and park. I also enjoyed my trip to the top of the Great Wall, after the fact, of course — it was way harder than it looks.I visited many temples and museums, and even got to experience tea houses. After coming back from this trip, I have a newfound appreciation for diversity, Chinese culture, and international students. I have a better understanding of why some of my cohort here behave the way they do, such as getting lunch at 11:30 every day. Overall the experience was better than I could have ever imagined, I already miss my friends, the food, and the city.

Hand-mixing green tea leaves.

Steven Anderson and Kristen Wyckoff with hand-spun cotton candy from a street vendor


CEE Professor Joshua Fu is Awarded the John D. Tickle Professorship

Joshua FuThe Tickle College of Engineering has awarded Professor Joshua Fu one of the first John D. Tickle Professorships for his exemplary scholarly research and publication record, as well as his teaching and service record. The professorship was created as a result of the investments made by John D. Tickle, a UT alumnus and graduate of Industrial Engineering, and his wife, Ann. Some of the Tickle’s other investments include investment in the John D. Tickle Engineering Building, the new engineering complex and the naming of our college.

“Joshua’s prolific and impactful scholarship related to air quality, energy and climate change over the past decade has elevated his own reputation as well as the reputation of the department as a whole,” said CEE Department Head Chris Cox. “I was so pleased that the college was able to recognize him as a Tickle Professor. Professorships play a vital role in retaining talented and successful faculty such as Joshua.”

Fu is a highly published faculty member and is engaged with researchers throughout the United States as well as internationally in studying the effects and impacts of air pollution and climate change,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the college. “The college is pleased to recognize his accomplishments with the John D. Tickle Professorship.”

The focus of Fu’s research work includes climatic changes, air pollution modeling, air quality impact assessments, the impacts of severe weather on health, the impacts of transportation planning and energy usage on air quality, land use (satellite applications) and emissions, diesel track emission effects, and energy optimization planning.

“It is my great honor to be named a John D. Tickle Professor,” said Fu. “I appreciate Mr. Tickle’s generosity and investments in our college and his devotion to the University of Tennessee. I have been a faculty in the department since 2000 and always treasure every growing opportunity that Dean Davis and my Department Head Chris Cox have provided over the years. Establishing scholarly research, making contributions to the literature, improving the quality of life (through better air quality), being inspired by other researchers, and educating students have brought me great joy. I look forward to working with wonderful students, colleagues, and researchers across our campus and across the nation and globe continuously.”

Fu is also an Inaugural Professor of the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education Energy Science and Engineering PhD program, Faculty Affiliate at the UT-ORNL Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, and holds a Joint Faculty Appointment in the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

CEE Assistant Professor Jon Hathaway Partners with UT College of Social Work on NSF Funded Stormwater Research

Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Jon Hathaway and U.T. College of Social Work Professor Lisa Reyes Mason, are investigators on a $1.8M grant from the National Science Foundation.The multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional grant, titled Overcoming social and technical barriers for the broad adoption of smart stormwater systems, will be led by the University of Michigan. The proposal grew from a concern about urban flooding and climate change and will investigate social and technical barriers to the adoption of smart stormwater systems in four cities (including Knoxville) in a three-year study.

The goal of the project is to enable the next generation of smart and connected stormwater systems, which use sensors to anticipate changes in weather and the urban landscape, and adapt their operation using active flow controls (e.g. gates, valves, pumps). This will drastically improve community resilience to floods and water quality impairments, which have been increasing due to expanding urbanization and changing weather patterns.

Equipping stormwater systems with low-cost sensors and controllers will provide a cost-effective solution to transform infrastructure from static to adaptive, permitting it to be instantly “redesigned” to respond to changing system needs, as well as help minimize impact on aging infrastructure.

“Civil engineering, by its nature, has a big impact on humanity,” said Hathaway. “We do work that has an impact on society, so I think having our colleges work together is a natural pairing, and one with real world consequence. Together, we can hopefully break some of the barriers that have kept this idea from becoming adapted in a more widespread way. Water issues are an increasingly important topic, and one that our colleges are poised to tackle.”

“Understanding the social aspects of smart stormwater is a brand new area,” said Reyes Mason, adding some of the questions guiding the research: “What does the public think about these systems? What are the barriers to adoption? How do experiences with flooding or trust in local government matter? By forming an Advisory Committee and carrying out survey research in different cities, we hope to answer these questions and start to identify directions for policy and decision making in this critical area.”

This research proposal was in part motivated by the Grand Challenge of the National Academy of Engineering to “restore and improve urban infrastructure” as well as the College of Social Work’s Grand Challenge, which is to “create social responses to a changing environment, and aims to lay a foundation to empower communities to transform the way they handle runoff and flooding.

El-adaway Named Fellow of the ASCE

Islam H. El-adaway

CEE Associate Professor Islam El-adaway was recently honored with the distinction of being named a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This distinction is only granted to about one percent of the organization’s 150,000 members in the civil engineering profession.

El-adaway is also the Director of the Civil Infrastructure System-of-Systems Interdependency Laboratory (CI2SI-L), and his research focuses on mitigating the management challenges associated with the sustainability of infrastructure systems. In June he and CEE doctoral graduate Mohamed Saeid Eid were awarded the ASCE 2017 Journal of Management in Engineering Best Peer Reviewed Paper Award for their paper entitled “Sustainable Disaster Recover Decision-Making Support Tool: Integrating Economic Vulnerability into the Objective Functions of the Associated Stakeholders.” This research has implications for post-disaster recovery efforts in regard to reducing the economic vulnerability of the affected community.

ASCE stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs and operates society’s economic and social engine – the built environment – while protecting and restoring the natural environment. It is a leading provider of technical and professional conferences and continuing education, the world’s largest publisher of civil engineering content, and an authoritative source for codes and standards that protect the public.


Assistant Professor Candace Brakewood Wins TRB’s 2017 Fred Burggraf Award

Assistant Professor Candace Brakewood recently won the Transportation Research Board’s 2017 Fred Burggraf Award. This international award recognizes the year’s best research paper by researchers 35 years of age or younger, and it is one of the highest honors presented by the Transportation Research Board.

The paper was authored by Brakewood with three of her former students at the City College of New York: Rachel Beer, Subrina Rahman, and Jennifer Viscardi. Brakewood and her former students will be honored with the award in January 2018 at the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies in Washington, DC.

They received the award for their paper entitled “Qualitative Analysis of Ridehailing Regulations in Major American Cities” that will be published in the Transportation Research Record. The research paper compares city regulations of ridehailing companies, such as Uber, in major metropolitan areas.

The Burggraf Award was established in 1966 to encourage young researchers to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of transportation and was named in honor of Fred Burggraf, who served as TRB’s Executive Director from 1951 until his retirement in 1964. More information can be found here:

CEE Alumnus Appointed to Lead Extension in the UT Institute of Agriculture

CEE alumnus Robert Burns has recently been appointed to lead extension in the UT Institute of Agriculture.

Wayne Davis, Dean of the Tickle College of Engineering, was his faculty advisor and has this statement about Burns’s appointment.

“We are excited to see Dr. Burns’ recent appointment as Dean of UT Extension. Robert received his MS in Environmental Engineering and his PhD in Civil engineering with a concentration in Envr engineering.  I had the pleasure of being his major professor where he concentrated on air quality and pollution control. Ironically, Robert held to his roots in Agricultural Engineering (now Biosystems Engineering) and became a leading international expert on air emissions and odor control related to agricultural emissions from swine and poultry operations.  Our college is proud to have Robert among our alumni and I am particularly proud to have been his mentor during his program and in his early career.”

Read the full story here.

CEE Professor Cherry Publishes Findings on Bicycle Accidents at Railroad Crossings

Chris CherryUniversity of Tennessee Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Chris Cherry, along with graduate students Ziwen Ling and Nirbesh Dhakal, recently published research in the Journal of Transport & Health on bicycle accidents at a railroad crossing. It is the first study that uses empirical video data to identify factors on detailed crossing and crash processes quantitatively. The data showed 13,247 cyclists traversing two sections of the railway over about two months, with higher than expected crash rates. The crash rate on the shoulder over this period was 15.3 per 1000 crossings, while the crash rate of the greenway (eastbound and westbound) was lower, 2.2 per 1000 crossings.

Factors cover crossing angle, cyclist characteristics, bicycle type, riding behavior, and environmental factors. Crashes are nearly eliminated at crossing angles greater than 30° degrees, and no crashes were observed at crossing angles greater than 60°. In areas with tight design constraints, achieving a 60° crossing angle largely eliminates the problem.

The crossing studied was infeasible to construct at a crossing angle that approached 90°, however, the City of Knoxville responded by constructing a jughandle design with a tangent angle of 57°, with a possible minimum angle of 37° (inside-to-outside of bike lane). This design encourages cyclists to approach this crossing at a higher angle and has effectively eliminated crashes except in cases where cyclists traverse the hash marks and cross at low angles. Future research will further evaluate rider behavior and crash performance under this design.

The Open Access paper is available here:

An article about the research was published in City Lab.

A YouTube video documenting the crashes used in the paper (and then some) is available here:

Freshmen Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to these CEE students for earning superlative grades during their freshmen year and receiving departmental scholarships! Read more about who they are and why they picked CEE at UT.


Emma Parks

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

Although both of my parents are from Memphis, I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life overseas in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the place I call home. However, coming to Knoxville to go to UT was not a difficult decision. The biggest draw to Knoxville was the character of the city and the proximity to the Smokey Mountains. Having grown up in a desert, I was excited about the prospect of experiencing the changing of the seasons and the overwhelming presence of greenery.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

In high school, my favorite subjects were my calculus and physics courses. As I considered possible areas of study, engineering seemed to be the perfect union of both of the subjects I enjoyed and my love for problem-solving.  I settled on civil and environmental engineering because of the variety of engineering paths you can take within the field of study.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

If I were to look back on my career 40 years from now, I would hope to have contributed to any number of engineering projects that tangibly served and benefited local communities. My greatest desire is that my career is one filled with personal and memorable relationships.


Eric Vercellone

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Springfield, Virginia which is around 15 minutes south of Washington D.C. When applying for college I knew that I wanted to go to a big school that was out of state so that I could have a lot of new experiences. I also wanted to go to a school that was great for engineering. After I applied to a few schools, I went and visited each one that I was accepted into and when I came to the University of Tennessee I immediately fell in love with the campus and decided that this is where I wanted to spend my college career.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

At first when I came into college I wasn’t sure which type of engineering that I wanted to do. Through my physics class, which talked about all the different types of engineering, and some research I decided on civil and environmental engineering. What appealed to me most about civil and environmental engineering was the fact that I have the opportunity to have more of a hands-on job out in the field and that my job would influence lots of people in everyday life.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

In 40 years I would love to have many different great experiences and accomplishments. If I could only choose one though, it would have to be that I oversaw a project that seemed impossible to most that was also for a really good cause. No matter how amazing something looks, I believe it is all about the reason behind it that gives it value. I want to be responsible for projects that have the ability to impact so many people in a positive way.


Brady Nutt

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I’m originally from Knoxville, and it just felt right to choose UT Knoxville. I did not want to be too far from home, and about a year later, I feel like I made the right decision.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I chose to study civil and environmental engineering simply because it is such an intriguing area of study. Civil engineers are literally involved in almost everything, and I would love to one day contribute to my society with new ideas and improved infrastructure.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

In forty years I would love to look back on all my of projects that I had a hand in, whether it be structures, water distribution, or something unexpected. Also, I think it would be cool to have started my own engineering firm.


Holly Hagood

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I chose UT Knoxville for several reasons. Not only am I part of my family’s third generation of attending UTK, but I realize an education at UTK is a good value that offers diverse and challenging fields of study recognized in the community as providing a quality education.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I chose civil and environmental engineering because of my love of math, my enjoyment in using logic and analytics to solve complex problems, the fact that this particular profession has tangible issues and solutions, and due to my exposure to this particular field from my father and brother being civil and environmental engineering graduates from UTK.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

I feel I will have been successful if I can look back many years from now to determine that I provided value and I was truly relevant in life in my profession, community, and personal life.


Francis Nunez

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Franklin, TN. I decided to go to UTK after my friend’s dad, Jim Williamson set up a tour with the College of Engineering. Mr. Williamson graduated from UTK with a degree in Civil Engineering. I was thoroughly impressed by the tour and I enjoyed seeing the Tickle building.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I became interested in studying engineering after joining an after school club, ACE. The club allowed high school students to interact with industry professionals and learn about the day to day tasks of architects and engineers. I decided to study Civil Engineering after I toured BCC Engineering, a Civil Engineering firm in Miami. I enjoyed watching the engineers interact and collaborate to complete a project.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

In 40 years, I want to be able to point at an iconic building or structure and have the ability to say that I played a major role in the completion of that project. I also hope to be finically stable enough to give back to the university that has given me many opportunities.


John Rymer

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Athens, TN, which is a small town about an hour south of Knoxville. I chose the UT Knoxville because of its strong academics and in particular the engineering program. The vast network that the alumni form also makes the job prospects for after school very appealing. It also just has a feeling of home about it that made me feel welcome.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

Civil and environmental engineering is my choice of major because I fell in love with the work that goes along with it the past two summers at J.S. Haren Company. I was able to work and see what a firm does with water treatment plants and found it very interesting. I see CEE as a field that is growing and that allows for people to be able to do rewarding work that benefits people around them.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

I want to make a difference. When I look back at my career, I want to be a diligent worker who always did their best, but I want to be more than that. I desire to be able to look back in 40 years to see that I have made a impact on my community and that I have been able to help people in need. I want to be most proud of the impact that I have made on others.


Nicholas Naifeh

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Ridgely, Tennessee. I chose Tennessee Knoxville because it was the best education i could get for the best price.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I decided to study environmental/civil engineering because I had two members of the family who were doing it and I felt like it would be something I would enjoy and excel at.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

When I look back over my career forty years from now, I want my most outstanding career achievement to be that no matter who I worked for or what job I was assigned, people remember me as being an efficient engineer who always got the job done.


Pierce Anderson       

Where are you from, and why did you choose UT Knoxville?

I am from Powell, Tennessee. I was born at Fort Sanders right here in Knoxville! I have been a Vols fan my whole life, and both my parents graduated from UT, so attending UT felt right for me from a young age. Furthermore, UT’s outstanding college of engineering only made my decision more clear.

Why did you decide to study civil and environmental engineering?

I decided to study civil and environmental engineering after exploring my options as a high schooler. I researched different engineering disciplines, and civil engineering caught my attention. I’ve always been interested in construction and structures, and I also enjoy learning about hydrodynamics and water flow and quality, so civil seemed like the right place for me.

Imagine yourself 40 years from now looking back over your career. What would you like your most outstanding achievement to be?

I have not decided which focus I’d like to pursue, so I don’t have a specific project or grand idea in mind for my career. However, no matter where I decide to focus my career, I want to use my skills to improve the lives of others. In 40 years, I’d like to have improved the infrastructure of a developing city or country in a way that positively impacts all of its residents and improves their quality of life. This could be done through access to clean water, safer housing, better transportation systems, or any number of innovations. As I continue my education and pursue my focus of choice I hope to come closer to finding what I want my impact to be.


In Memoriam: Bruce Tschantz

University of Tennessee Professor Emeritus Bruce Tschantz passed away on June 28. Tschantz taught water resources courses in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 1965 through his retirement in 2002. After retiring from UT, Bruce ran an active consulting engineering practice until his death. As a graduate student at New Mexico State University, he worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Albuquerque and designed the US’s northernmost dam in Alaska.

In the early 1970s he worked to establish Tennessee’s first dam safety policy and was appointed as the first Chief of Federal Dam Safety in 1980. He was an ASCE fellow, and in 2016, was recognized by the American Society of Dam Safety Officers for lifetime achievement.

Bruce enjoyed fly fishing, making BBQ, hiking, and playing the harmonica. He cherished his family and friends, who valued his insight, moral character, and wit. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Penny, sister, sons, and grandchildren.

“Bruce’s colleagues will always remember him for his passion for preparing the next generation of engineers and for his commitment to improving the safety of our nation’s dams,” says CEE Department Head Chris Cox. “He was an outstanding role model for the notion that the work of the civil engineer is to serve the public.”


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