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Graduate Student Spotlight: Boris Goenaga

Boris Goenaga

Boris Goenaga is a fourth-year Ph.D. student with a concentration in transportation systems and materials, studying the relationship between highway safety and pavement condition. He grew up in Colombia and is co-advised by Associate Professors Shane Underwood and Cassie Castorena. Goenaga is involved with the Transportation Research Board and has presented his work at the board’s annual meeting.


What influenced you to go into engineering?

GOENAGA (G): I wanted to be an engineer to solve problems that affect our society. With my research, I want to help reduce accidents and reach the goal of zero deaths on our roads.


What problem(s) are you trying to solve? Why was NC State / CCEE a good fit for you?

G: I decided to come to NC State because of the well-known quality of the transportation research group. The group’s research covers the various areas of study within the transport community. In this group, you have the opportunity to be directly involved in areas that are hard to find anywhere else. For example, you can study the effect of climate change on the resilience of our road infrastructure while also focusing on the particle interactions that affect the mechanical properties of road materials.


Where did your passion for this particular focus come from?

G: I have always been passionate about highway design, management and construction. I did my master’s in Colombia, and my thesis focused on pavement deterioration models. Since my graduation, I have worked in this area. In 2015, I had the opportunity to start working as an instructor professor at my hometown’s university. This experience lasted four years. I had the chance to explore the world of transportation logistics and transportation planning.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

G: In the short term, I will be a postdoc at NC State. In the future, I want to be a faculty member at a well-known institution or to be in a research position.