Spring 2022 Letter from the Director

Dear alumni, friends and colleagues, 

We are coming toward the end of another great semester at the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment (ESSIE) within the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. 

I’m delighted to share updates from the school. To begin, our Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering Civil and Department of Environmental Engineering graduate programs are now ranked No. 17 and No. 19, respectively. Our programs have been ranked in the top 20 among public universities four years in a row.  

Denise R. Simmons, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering, received the Best Paper Award from the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education.  Another two of our Civil and Coastal Engineering faculty members received awards from the American Concrete Institute (ACI) in March. Christopher Ferraro, Ph.D., P.E.,  assistant professor, received the ACI’s Delmar L. Bloem Distinguished Service Award for his work on technical committees. He was one of three recipients to receive this recognition. In addition, Kyle A. Riding, Ph.D., professor, was named an ACI Fellow, making him one of 20 members inducted into this year’s class.  

Our congratulations also go to  Kathe Todd-Brown, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, for receiving the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award. Through this highly competitive award for junior faculty, Dr. Todd-Brown hopes to find a solution toward the predictive understanding of soil carbon dynamics by linking theoretical and practical approaches, and standardizing data use, collection and nomenclature to foster global collaborations. 

 Two of our faculty’s latest research on understanding how human behaviors impact COVID-19 transmissions gained national coverage in the Washington Post. Antarpreet Jutla, Ph.D., an associate professor, and Chang-Yu Wu, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, discussed how climate conditions and human behaviors interact to affect COVID-19 transmissions. The research helped citizens and experts alike in COVID-19 mitigation measures. 

The UF Center for Coastal Solutions (CCS) has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a $3 million Engineering with Nature initiative. This research, led by Christine Angelini, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences and CCS director, along with several colleagues in ESSIE, will give the Corps a sustainable framework for coastal conservation and remedial projects on Florida’s First Coast. The team intends to provide these ecosystems with the protection necessary to withstand and even thrive under climatic conditions, where wind, storm waves and tides relentlessly threaten to undermine hazard mitigation efforts.  

Our staff members continue to contribute to the overall excellence of the school.  Sophie Sprately, Ph.D., an academic advisor within the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering, was named UF Advisor of the Year. It comes as no surprise to us; she has been remarkable throughout her six years in our department. Earlier in January, she received a college award for Undergraduate Professional Advisor of the Year.  

We are happy to be back in person after being virtual for almost two years. We look forward to continued success for our faculty, students and alumni. As always, I wish you and your loved ones good health and happiness.  

Go Gators. 

Kirk Hatfield, Ph.D.,