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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

CAREER award for Padgett

By Rohini Sigireddi     4/14/11 7:00pm

The Rice Thresher sat down with assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Jamie Padgett to talk about receiving a National Science Foundation CAREER Grant for her project on bridge safety in hazardous conditions. Padgett teaches courses on structural analysis, bridge engineering and extreme events and earthquake engineering.

Rice Thresher: Why did you apply for a CAREER Grant?

Jamie Padgett: As a young faculty member, I applied to the CAREER Grant to gain support for my career as a civil engineer and establish a new program and project in line with my interests and aspirations.

RT: What will you receive with your CAREER Grant?

JP: Funding is the main component of the award, in addition to recognition and the ability to discuss your research with a larger audience.

RT: What are the details of your research proposal?

JP: The general topic of my proposal is to look at bridge vulnerability and assess the structure of bridges under multiple criteria for hazards. My research covers two themes: the assessment of the reliability and risk of bridges under hazards, like earthquakes and hurricanes, and the quantification of impacts of damages to bridges. I am looking beyond engineering metrics by looking at the consequences of damage in terms of economic losses and environmental impacts.

RT: Will you collaborate with anyone for your CAREER Grant project?

JP: A team of researchers will be established, composed primarily of graduate students with support for undergraduate research assistants. Additionally, we intend to collaborate with groups like the Civic Science Program for community outreach in K-12 schools in the Houston area.

RT: Do you see any obstacles to your research?

JP: The major challenge of my work is [to] manage the hundreds of thousands of bridges that are susceptible to structural damage. Our goal is to help infrastructure owners by providing risk assessment and the proper tools to manage safer infrastructure. These challenges will be overcome by working closely with industry partners to perform case studies. Additionally we hope to receive feedback from the Texas Department of Transportation to best develop viable solutions to protecting local bridges.

RT: What inspired your CAREER Grant research proposal?

JP: This project reflects an evolution in my past research, which involved analyzing bridge vulnerability to hazards. This project now allows me to study how to manage these structural threats and help infrastructure owners make decisions concerning how to cope with harms to bridges.

RT: What does winning this CAREER Award mean to you both personally and professionally?

JP: This is personally a great honor, and I appreciate the NSF for providing me this support. I hope my project will bring research awareness of my project to Rice. Furthermore, this grant reaffirms that the topics I am studying are important and have the support of the NSF to pursue further study.

RT: How will the CAREER Grant influence your role at Rice as an assistant professor?

JP: The grant will allow for more opportunities to work with mentoring students. I will also be able to integrate the results of my research into the classes I teach at Rice.

More information about Dr. Padgett's CAREER Award can be found on the NSF's website, http://www.nsf.gov.

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