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Popovics, Elbanna receive named appointments

3/19/2020 11:47:23 AM

Two civil and environmental engineering faculty members recently received named appointments from The Grainger College of Engineering. Professor John Popovics (above left) has been named a Caterpillar Faculty Scholar and assistant professor Ahmed Elbanna (above right) has been named a Donald Biggar Willet Faculty Fellow. Both appointments are effective August 16, 2020.

Popovics joined the CEE at Illinois faculty in 2002, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on materials properties, construction material corrosion and durability, concrete technology and non-destructive testing. His research findings in the areas of non-destructive evaluation, imaging and sensing of infrastructure conditions, and degradation processes of infrastructure materials have been published in numerous books, technical journals and conference proceedings. He is an active member of several professional societies and is a named Fellow of the American Concrete Institute and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing. Popovics holds a Ph.D. (1994) in engineering science and mechanics from The Pennsylvania State University, and M.S. (1990) and B.S. (1988) degrees in civil engineering from Drexel University.

Elbanna, who has been on the CEE faculty since 2013, holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering (2011) and M.S. in applied mechanics (2006), both from the California Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in structural engineering (2005) and B.S. in civil engineering (2003) from Cairo University. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses in structural engineering, he conducts research in three primary areas: mechanics and physics of earthquakes and granular materials; mechanics and physics of networked and biological materials; and mechanical metamaterials. In 2018, Elbanna was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award to study the physics behind earthquakes so more accurate predictive models could be developed.

Caterpillar Faculty Scholar awards are conferred upon faculty whose research interests closely align with Caterpillar's current research and development needs. Donald Biggar Willett Faculty Fellowships are awarded to faculty members who are excelling in their contributions to the University of Illinois. More broadly, the Willett Research Initiatives in Engineering funds professorships, undergraduate and graduate student research, and related research activity in honor of Donald Biggar Willett (1897-1981), who studied civil engineering at the University of Illinois from 1916-1921.