GEESD IV brought together the broad community of geo-professionals working on earthquake engineering and soil dynamics problems for this comprehensive decennial examination of our technical disciplines. Tarek Abdoun, NEES@Rensselaer Associate Director, worked on the Student Activities committee for this conference, developing, organizing and executing a student session titled “Graduate Student Career Workshop: Toward Successful Career Paths in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering.” This session was aimed at graduate students pursuing degrees in earthquake engineering and featured several well-respected speakers. The intent of the session was to inform graduate students about career opportunities for geotechnical earthquake engineers in consulting, government, national laboratories and academia. Representatives from each sector presented on their typical projects, the joys and challenges unique to their work, and how graduate students can prepare for careers in each sector. Speakers included:

  • Tom Cooling, P.E., Vice President, URS Corporation, “Career Paths in Consulting Practice”;
  • Ali Porbaha, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, California State University, “Academic Careers at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions”;
  • Robert Kayen, Ph.D., Research Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, “Dynamic Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Careers in U.S. National Laboratories and Research Agencies”;
  • Ellen Rathje, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, “Academic Careers at a Research University”.

The session was attended by approximately 30 graduate students and included an informal networking reception after the presentations.

NEES@Rensselaer staff also presented facility information and research details at the GEESD IV Field Demonstration Day. The mini-centrifuge was sent to Sacramento for the conference and was demonstrated by NEES@Rensselaer staff. Four experimental site posters were included at the site; two highlighting NEES@Rensselaer equipment, one summarizing the NEESR-SG Piles research project, and one summarizing the NEESR-SG Pipelines research project. The Field Demonstration Day was very well attended and NEES@Rensselaer staff estimated that approximately 100 people observed the mini-centrifuge demonstrations.

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