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New faculty: Ziccarelli brings construction, structural expertise to CCEE 

Dr. Andrew Ziccarelli

Before embarking on his academic journey as an assistant professor in the Structural Engineering and Mechanics group this January, Dr. Andrew Ziccarelli had quite a physical journey to embark on — one that took him all the way across the country and through several disciplines. 

Ziccarelli, who earned a B.S. in civil engineering with an emphasis in structures from the University of Notre Dame in 2011, made the long trek — 2,815.8 miles to be precise — from Stanford University in California to NC State after earning his M.S. in 2014 and Ph.D. in structural engineering in 2021. Along the way, he’s built up his expertise — studying wind loadings in Chicago, then earthquake loadings in California, and now branching out into new materials at NC State. 

Growing up outside of Chicago, Ziccarelli spent most of his life in the Midwest, having worked in the structural design and construction industry in Chicago for about five years prior to starting on his Ph.D. While in the Windy City, he had a hand in designing apartment buildings, shopping centers and parking garages, and also worked on several major structural renovations. 

His research focuses on advancing the state-of-the-art in nonlinear structural analysis, with the goal of increasing the resilience of our built environment in the face of natural hazards. In his doctoral research, he developed and tested new computational models to simulate fracture of steel building components subjected to large-scale earthquakes, which involved both analytical work and extensive experimental testing — something he intends to continue at NC State. Most of his research will involve studying the behavior of steel structures at extreme limit states, and he plans to branch out to other materials over the next few years. 

Two of the main driving factors for his decision to work at NC State were the CCEE faculty members and the research facilities. 

“During my interview, all of the faculty members that I met with were exceptionally friendly, and the culture within the department is very collaborative and supportive. The department provides tremendous support for new faculty, and I truly felt that NC State would give me the best opportunity to build my academic career. As far as the facilities go, Fitts-Woolard Hall is, of course, a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and research. I am also very excited to pursue large-scale research in the Constructed Facilities Lab.” 

Ziccarelli started his teaching career in January with CE 225 (Mechanics of Solids), an undergraduate course that he said provides an important foundation for more advanced CE courses. 

Ziccarelli said he was very excited for the opportunity to move to North Carolina. 

“Everyone that I spoke with prior to moving had tremendously positive things to say about living in North Carolina, especially here in Raleigh. We (me, my wife and our two kids) are very excited to be so close to so much natural beauty, with the ocean only a few hours to the east and the mountains to the west. We love that the area is so family-friendly, with great schools and activities for our kids, and the fact that there are three world-class universities right in our backyard. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming!”