Graduate Blog

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

November 7, 2019

Please see the enclosed job announcement for a Structural Engineerin position in the western Chicago suburbs.


November 6, 2019

New course offering Spring 2020
CEE 498: Transportation Economics

Prof. Lewis Lehe
Mon/Wed 2-3:20 PM
3 & 4 credit options


November 6, 2019

The Association of Modified Asphalt Producers is now accepting student applications for AMAP's 2020 Dr. David R. Jones IV Asphalt Scholarship.

Four Dr. David R. Jones IV annual scholarships will be awarded in 2020:

At least one scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded to a graduate student applicant. At least one scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded to a undergraduate student applicant. Each of the remaining two $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to either a graduate or undergraduate student applicant.

All college graduate students and undergraduates who have completed their sophomore year and are currently enrolled at an accredited college or university in North America are eligible to apply.

Applicants should be majoring in a field of study that is related to asphalt paving technology, such as civil engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry or other related majors. Preference will be given to applicants with experience and interest in the field of asphalt technology directly related to asphalt modification and innovations in material science applicable to improving the durability of asphalt materials.

We are using an Online Scholarship Application again this year. The Scholarship Information Page provides more background about Dave Jones and the scholarship.

Please note that the due date for students to submit their applications and provide transcripts and letters of recommendation is Friday, January 17, 2020.

November 6, 2019


Monday, Nov 18th

12-1 pm

Room 1311

There will be 2- 30 minute presentations

Mandatory for all SRIS students


Seminar 1: Probabilistic Formulation for Storm Surge Predictions

Alessandro Contento, Ph.D. Candidate, CEE at Illinois

Abstract: For many hurricanes, storm surge causes significant damage and losses.  Examples include Hurricane Katrina and the more recent hurricanes Florence and Michael.  In the future, climate change and coastal development may increase the impact due to the storm surge.  To mitigate the impact, policymakers and local governments need tools that help select long- and short-term countermeasures. For the long-term actions, there is a need for tools that allow risk analyses for storm surge that can be used to design adaptation measures for the development of resilient communities.  In this case, the models used for storm surge predictions should be able to provide representative scenarios that consider different possible climate change evolutions.  For short-term emergency interventions, instead, there is a need for tools that provide accurate and timely predictions of the storm surge to support critical emergency management decisions that are usually made a few hours before the landfall. This presentation focuses on a probabilistic formulation that can satisfy both needs.  Such a probabilistic formulation combines two models.  The first model evaluates the probability of a location of being flooded; the second model predicts the storm surge height.  Both models are based on regressors with a clear physical meaning and can use data from both high-fidelity simulations and historical records.  The capability to include the effects of climate change is obtained by calibrating the models with high fidelity simulations that account for the effect of climate change performed using a realistic set of hurricanes.

Bio: Alessandro Contento is a research assistant and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He earned his MS degree in Civil Engineering in October 2005, and his “Dottorato di Ricerca” in Civil and Environmental Engineering in April 2009 at the University of L’Aquila.  The research started during his MS and “Dottorato di Ricerca,” focuses on the study of the dynamics of rigid blocks and, in particular, on the use of passive control systems to prevent their overturning.  His current research interests are in the development of a framework for hurricane risk analysis, with a particular focus on developing probabilistic models for storm surge.


Seminar 2: Public Charging Infrastructure for Plug-in Electric Vehicles: What is it worth?

Prof. Eleftheria (Ria) Kontou, Assistant Professor, CEE at Illinois

Abstract: Lack of charging infrastructure is an important barrier to the growth of the plug-in electric vehicle market. Public charging infrastructure has tangible and intangible value, such as reducing range anxiety or building confidence in the future of the electric vehicle market. Quantifying the value of public charging infrastructure can inform benefit-cost analysis of investment decisions and can help predict the impact of charging infrastructure on future electric vehicle sales. Estimates of willingness to pay for such infrastructure based on stated preference surveys are limited by consumers’ lack of familiarity with electric vehicles. We focus on quantifying the tangible value of public electric vehicle chargers in terms of their ability to displace gasoline use for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and to enable additional electric vehicle miles for battery electric vehicles, thereby mitigating the limitations of shorter range and longer recharging time. Functions are synthesized that estimate the willingness to pay for public charging infrastructure by plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles drivers, conditional on vehicle range, annual vehicle travel, energy prices, vehicle efficiency, and household income. A case study based on California’s public charging infrastructure network in 2017 indicates that, to the purchaser of a new battery electric vehicle with a 100-mile range and home recharging, existing public fast chargers are worth about $1,500 for intraregional travel, and fast chargers along intercity routes are valued at over $6,500.

Bio: Dr. Kontou joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019. She received her PhD in Civil Engineering, focusing on transportation systems, from the University of Florida under the advisement of Dr. Yafeng Yin. She holds a MSc from Virginia Tech in the same field. She graduated with a Diploma in Civil Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. She was a postdoctoral research associate at the Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and conducted research at the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before beginning her current faculty position at UIUC. She is a member of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Alternative Transportation Fuels and Technologies (ADC80) of the National Academies.


November 6, 2019

FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center under the National Research Council’s Research Associateship Program is looking for a postdoc. The two opportunities are listed below.

Developing a Moisture Damage Approach for Performance-related Specifications of Asphalt Mixtures:

Those looking for more information on the program should be referred to:

Please contact David Mensching