Graduate Blog

To submit an item for the graduate blog, email Joan Christian.

April 6, 2018

The Illinois State Water Survey currently has 5 job openings for Field Research Assistant positions for the summer of 2018. The job announcement can be found at the Illinois State Water Survey employment website as well as attached to this email. I believe this is a great opportunity for the students of the CEE program.

April 5, 2018


Faculty Candidate Seminar for the Zhejiang-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute (ZJUI)


Bioremediation of Chlorinated Ethenes: pH Effects, Novel Dechlorinators and Decision-Making Tools


Dr. Yi Yang

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Marine Sciences

University of Georgia


Monday, April 9, 2018

12:00 p.m.

3310 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory

205 N. Mathews, Urbana



Chlorinated solvents have been widely used in different areas of modern society. Improper handling and disposal of these chlorinated hazardous compounds caused a variety of environmental problems and continues to affect human health. Among the available treatment technologies, bioremediation shows great promise as a cost-effective corrective strategy for a variety of environmental pollutants. Prerequisites are that the microbiology involved in contaminant degradation and geochemical factors, such as pH, are understood, so that bioremediation technologies can be confidently implemented. In this research we investigated chemical and microbiological factors affecting chlorinated ethenes biodegradation, and developed an Excel-based tool to guide remedial practitioners to select suitable remediation strategies. The research findings advance understanding of the microbial reductive dechlorination process and will improve the implementation of in situ bioremediation



Dr. Yi Yang received his double bachelor’s degrees (Environmental engineering and law, 2007) and Master of Engineering Degree (2009) from Wuhan University. Then he had been studying in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a concentration in environmental biotechnology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, supervised by Dr. Frank Löffler. There he earned his MS and PhD in Environmental Engineering in 2012 and 2016, respectively. His main interests were biotic and abiotic processes that contribute to contaminant degradation in anoxic environments (e.g., microbial reductive dehalogenation). He continued his postdoctoral training in Dr. Samantha Joye’s lab at the University of Georgia, Athens, working on characterizing petroleum hydrocarbons and enriching microorganisms capable of anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation. He has authored and co-authored research papers published in ISME, Environmental Science & Technology, and Nature Chemical Biology.



April 5, 2018

Faculty Candidate for the Zhejiang-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute (ZJUI)


Quantifying and Managing Infrastructure Resilience: A Structural Health Monitoring Solution

Binbin Li, University of Liverpool,


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

12:00 p.m.

2312 Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory

205 N. Mathews, Urbana


Civil infrastructures, e.g., water, energy, waste and transportation systems, are essential to modern life and central to the security and stability of the nation. Modern societies demand civil infrastructures to be ‘resilient’ to disasters – natural and man-made hazards, e.g., earthquakes, floods, storms, terrorist attacks. Resilience measures the vulnerability and adaptability of infrastructures to extreme events. There are methodologies to quantify the vulnerability and adaptability of civil infrastructures. However, they are mainly based on empirical procedures due to lack of sufficient data. With integrated sensor networks in structures and infrastructures, structural health monitoring has shown its applicability in operation maintenance and emergency management, taking advantage of both the engineering knowledge and field data. This talk summarizes recent research and proposes approaches to resolve challenges of quantification and management of infrastructural resilience from the perspective of structural health monitoring to envision a promising future with resilient and intelligent civil infrastructures.


Dr. Binbin Li is currently a research associate in the Institute of Risk and Uncertainty at the University of Liverpool, UK, working on quantifying and managing uncertainties in ambient vibration test. He obtained his Ph.D. (2016) in Civil Engineering from the University of California-Berkeley and his B.S. (2009) in Civil Engineering and M.S. (2012) in Structural Engineering both from Dalian University of Technology, China. His research focuses on developing innovative statistical methods to address safety, resilience and sustainability issues of the built civil infrastructures. His specific interests include operational modal analysis, Bayesian system identification, infrastructural network modeling and field test, for structure and infrastructure health management and resilience assessment.


April 4, 2018

Would any of your graduate students who are US citizens benefit from conducting research or studying overseas?  If so, a Fulbright grant might be right for them.  Supporting up to one year of fieldwork, laboratory research, or artistic training in over 140 countries around the globe, Fulbright grants allow students to add a cross-cultural dimension to their graduate studies and build an international network.  Please find details on the program here.  

The Graduate College is holding three Fulbright-related sessions this month, and all students considering applying are encouraged to attend:

Fulbright Information Session for Graduate Students: Tuesday, April 10, 3:30-5:00. 308 Coble Hall. Register. Workshop: Writing Personal Statements for Fulbright Grants: Tuesday, April 24, 3:30-5:00. 308 Coble Hall. Register.   Workshop: Writing Research Statements for Fulbright Grants: Thursday, April 26, 3:30-5:00. 308 Coble Hall. Register.

We are holding these sessions in April because applications are due during the summer:

June 1 is the “priority deadline.”  Draft applications received in the Graduate College by the priority deadline will receive a comprehensive review by the Office of External Fellowships. July 16 is the required campus deadline.  Applications must be submitted by this date in order to receive institutional endorsement.  As part of the endorsement process, applicants will be interviewed by a faculty committee, and starting this year applicants will assemble their own committees.  Interviews will take place in August.

Fulbrights are among the most globally-recognized of graduate awards, and they can open doors for students seeking to expand their scholarly horizons.  The University of Illinois is a top producer of Fulbright scholars nationally (see results from 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014), and we hope this year will continue in that vein.

If students or faculty in your department have any questions, please have them contact us in the Office of External Fellowships at



April 3, 2018

The DFI Educational Trust, the charitable arm of the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), announces the availability of scholarships in 2018 under its At-Large Scholarship Program.

Applicants must be enrolled full time in an accredited U.S. college or university; be pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree in civil, geotechnical engineering or other related deep foundations curriculum; or an undergraduate degree in construction management; and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.   In addition, they must demonstrate interest in the deep foundation industry and financial need.  There are several scholarships available ranging from  $2,000 to $5,000 each.   Applicants need to submit only one application and they will be considered for all available scholarships.   The awards can be used for tuition, fees, books and/or educational living expenses.

The application period is open now.    The deadline for submission is May 15, 2018

To apply, go to At Large Application      Application, essay, and resume, are accepted online only.     Transcript and letters of recommendation must be sent by mail.   All materials must be received by the above deadline.

For more information on the DFI Educational Trust, visit