CEE Graduate Students Attend Northwest Geotechnical Graduate Research Symposium
Author: CEE Dept
Posted: April 29, 2019

On April 11th and 12th, the geotechnical graduate students of PSU attended the University of Washington’s  Northwest Geotechnical Graduate Research Symposium. The event invited universities from the Pacific Northwest including: Oregon State University, University of British Columbia, Washington State University, and Portland State University.

The symposium began with a presentation by Dr. Rudy Bonaparte from Geosyntec on failures at waste disposal facilities, and aspects that need to be accounted for when designing landfills.  The next day, students were invited to hear presentations from graduate students and faculty from the participating universities. Representing PSU were Dr. Diane Moug, highlighting PSU’s ongoing research efforts toward characterizing Willamette Silt and developing CPT relationships for the Portland area, and Milad Souri, Ph.D candidate, whose research is on how to design for combined kinematic and inertial loading on piles during a liquefaction event. 

After the morning presentations, all graduate students participated in a round table discussion regarding the relative states of the represented graduate programs and potential areas of improvement. Two of the main focuses of this discussion were a comparison of available and needed course offerings and graduate student involvement with the professional sector and the community. PSU graduate students were able to contribute much to the conversation. We have several students who work in industry and have seen firsthand which practical aspects of geotechnical engineering must be addressed in graduate courses. PSU geotechnical graduate students have also been very involved in public outreach through community events, such as the Earthquake Preparedness Event at PSU, collaborating with MESA and OMSI with STEM outreach, and connecting local engineers and professionals with the community. There was a general consensus from the graduate students involved in the roundtable discussion that we have a duty to our communities as future engineers, and that we must advocate for our profession to increase awareness of its importance to society.

The round table discussion was followed by a poster presentation where the following graduate students presented their research: Rawan Almoumen, Melissa Preciado, Tanner Bryantt, Andrew Huffman, Milad Souri, Thomas Torkelson, and Nathan Villaneuve. The poster presentation was attended by industry professionals, and professors from the participating universities.