Skip to main content

CCEE faculty, students gain valuable insight at Transportation Research Board’s 101st Annual Meeting

Pictured above: Deepika Karanam, Ariadne Palma, Maria Carolina Aparicio, Jaime Preciado, Boris Goenaga, Nooralhuda Saleh, and Ala’ Hudaib

By Cailyn Kennedy

Sixteen CCEE students and faculty members attended the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) 101st Annual Meeting on January 9-13. Held in Washington, D.C, it was TRB’s first in-person meeting since January 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions. At the conference, students and faculty members attended lectures and workshops, and a select number of students participated in poster sessions where they presented their research. 

CCEE Ph.D. student Adam Schmidt

CCEE Ph.D. student Adam Schmidt, who was selected as the 2021 Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Fellow by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, participated in one of the poster sessions, where he presented his graduate research on the impact of the light rail in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the value of single-family homes.

“It’s challenging to figure out how to communicate research so succinctly, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to compete and to see the wide range of presentations from other TRB attendees,” says Schmidt, who was second runner-up in the poster competition.

Thousands of transportation administrators, practitioners, policy makers, and researchers participated in the event’s more than 400 workshops, lectern sessions, poster sessions, and committee meetings. One of the most-notable attendees was U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who took part in the Chair Plenary Session and a “fireside chat” with the TBR’s Executive Committee Chair Susan Shaheen and Vice Chair Nat Ford. 

Left to right: Mayzan Isied, Andrew Fried, and Maria Aparicio Alvis

Dr. Mervyn Kowalsky, Christopher W. Clark Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering, attended and says the in-person meeting was “really impactful.”

“Many connections were made that would not have happened through Zoom,” Kowalsky says. “For example, Adriene Palma Parra, a Ph.D. student, and I were approached by an engineer from South Carolina who manages the earthquake interest group at his firm. After some conversations, he expressed an interest in having us give seminars to his group on our research.”

Parra, who attended the meeting as part of the AKB50 committee (Seismic Design and Performance of Bridges), says the meeting gave her “a chance to network with structural engineers with a lot of experience and insight into emerging research topics.”

The Transportation Research Board is a program unit of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This program includes private and nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology and medicine.