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CCEE student nabs 2022 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Cassie Gann-Phillips

CCEE second-year Ph.D. student Cassie Gann-Phillips received a 2022 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Gann-Phillips, who is focusing on geotechnical engineering, is part of the Dr. Ashly Cabas research group that conducts geotechnical earthquake engineering research. 

Gann-Phillips said she was both ecstatic and incredibly grateful to receive the fellowship.

“I am very fortunate to be a part of an amazing and extremely supportive research group and department that have helped me be able to be in this position,” she said.

“Yes Cassie, you did it!” Cabas tweeted. “I’m looking forward to continuing learning from you! Stay tuned for this amazing NC State student’s contributions shifting paradigms in near surface attenuation of seismic waves!”

The fellowship will support Gann-Phillips’ geotechnical earthquake engineering research on the attenuation of seismic waves. She will investigate the connections between the scales at which different attenuation mechanisms affect the dissipation of seismic energy. 

“This research will transform the way we think of soil damping by proposing an advanced parameterization for engineering and seismic design guidelines, which can more robustly capture the energy dissipation mechanisms taking place as seismic waves propagate in porous media,” Gann-Phillips said.

Fellows receive an annual stipend of $34,000 for three years, a $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research.

Gann-Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from NC State in 2020. As part of the Cabas research group, Gann-Phillips is working on research projects supported by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alaska Department of Transportation and is a teaching assistant for CE 593 Dynamics of Soils and Foundations. Additionally, Gann-Phillips is a member of Chi Epsilon and the Geo-Institute Graduate Student Organization and a student member of the American Society of Engineers and the Seismological Society of America.

“I am also a team member of the Earthquake Engineering and Seismology Community Alliance in Latin America (E2SCALA) initiative,” Gann-Phillips said. “This is an outreach program that my advisor, Dr. Ashly Cabas, created to enhance seismic scientific literacy and communication for Latin American students through a virtual collaborative environment of geotechnical earthquake engineers with resources and videos that are available in both English and Spanish. I am working on new laboratory video content for the outreach program.”

“[Cassie’s] selection as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow is a highly significant national accomplishment and places [her] amongst an elite group of fellows who have gone on to distinguished careers in STEM or STEM education,” said Lee Zia, acting division director of the NSF Division of Graduate Education.