Challenges and Innovation in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences – Seminar Series

This undergraduate seminar series has been ongoing since the spring of 2008. Each semester, seven to nine speakers — a mix of project managers and engineers from industry/consulting, government labs, and academia — address some of the many facets of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences.

The focus is on big and challenging infrastructure, environmental and earth sciences problems around the world — projects like bridges, offshore structures, building monitoring, dynamic response systems, environmental cleanup, designing for nuclear energy, water and resource management, clean water, natural hazards mitigation, aiding underdeveloped countries, designing for and harnessing wind and water power, dealing with sea level rise and climate change, engineering mega projects like the London Olympics and the Panama Canal, building the world’s tallest or skinniest or most energy efficient structures, structures in motion, and lessons from the Great Builders.

Some recent past seminars are listed below, and upcoming seminars are here

2023-2024 Seminars


April 25
Dr. Elizabeth Holzenthal ‘15, USACE Engineer Research and Development Center
Engineering research addressing the climatic, social, and economic challenges facing the nation’s coasts and estuaries

April 18
Marlena Fernandez, Kinectrics
The Use of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) in US Nuclear Power Plants

April 11
Tori Tomiczek, Ph.D., United States Naval Academy
Quantifying Engineering Performance Metrics for Emergent Vegetation and Hybrid Systems

March 21
Greg Benz, Senior Vice President, WSP USA, RA, AICP
Environmental Considerations in the Planning and Design of Transportation Projects

February 22
Roberto T. Leon, P.E., Ph.D., Virginia Tech
Forensic Engineering Lessons from the Linea 12 Mexico City and Fern Hollow Bridge Collapse

February 15
Erin O’Keefe, AES Clean Energy
Life as a Working Structural Engineer

January 18
Jim Alleman, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Computing Before Computers: The Rise and Fall of Slide Rules


November 30
Shannon Warchol O’Brien, ND ’13, Kittelson & Associates
Do We Really Have to Wait for Someone to Die? Accelerating Identification and Evaluation of Safety Countermeasures for Vulnerable Road Users

November 9
Davina Passeri, ND ’10, U.S. Geological Survey St. Petersburg Coastal & Marine Science Center
Modeling the Coastal Dynamics of Sea Level Rise

October 26
Joseph Good, Langan Engineering
Out of Thin Air – Hudson Yards

September 28
Edison Lecture
Jamie E. Padgett, Rice University
In Pursuit of Smart and Equitable Multi-Hazard Resilience Modeling for Structures and Systemsers

September 14
Michael McGinnis, Ph.D., Dean, LeTourneau University
Engineering, Meaning and Faith:  Professional Formation of Engineers with Magnitude and Direction

September 7
Raymond “Paul” Giroux, Purdue University
Great Builders

August 31
Todd Helwig, UT Austin
Effective Bracing of Steel Girders

2022-2023 Seminars


April 27
Aaron Donahue, ND PhD ’16; Staff Scientist, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory
The Challenge of Predicting the Climate, Earth System Models and High-Performance Computing

April 20
E. Miller Wylie, ND PhD ’14;
Acting Deputy Group Leader, Actinide Analytical Chemistry, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Technical Career Pathways at Los Alamos National Laboratory

April 13
Edward M. DePaola, ND CE BS MS, PE, SECB, F.SEI; President & CEO, Severud Associates Consulting Engineers, PC
JP Morgan Chase Headquarters, 270 Park Avenue, New York, NY

March 23
Greg Benz, ND B.Arch ’76, RA, AICP; Senior Vice President, WSP
Transportation Project Development: The Ultimate Team Undertaking

March 2
Joseph Burns, ND B.Arch ’78, PE, SE, CEng, F.IStructE, F.IABSE, FAIA, RIBA; Managing Principal, Thornton Tomasetti
My Evolution as an Architect-Engineer

February 23
Ali M. Bramson; Assistant Professor, Dept of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Purdue
Finding and Utilizing Water Ice on Mars as an In Situ Resource to Enable Human Exploration to the Red Planet

February 9
Barritt Lovelace, PE; Vice President of UAS, Artificial Intelligence and Reality Modeling, Collins Engineers, Inc
Michael Banasiak, PE; Regional Manager, Collins Engineers, Inc.
UAS, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Twins for Bridge Inspection

January 26
Paul A. Kempf, ND EE ’80, PE; Assistant Vice President of Utilities & Maintenance, ND
The Third Coming of Hydropower

January 19
Brittany Margritz, ND CE ’19; Eswatini Bridge Program Manager, Engineers in Action
Cross-Cultural Bridge Building: The Unique Challenges and Opportunities of Working International Engineering Environments


November 17
Kara M. Boyles, PhD, PE, ND PhD 2006; City Engineer, Division of Engineering, City of South Bend
Engineering South Bend in a Post-Covid Economy

November 3
Brian G. Morgen, PhD, PE, SE, LEED AP, ND CE MS 2004, PhD 2007; Associate Principal, Office Director, Thornton Tomasetti, Seattle, WA
SpeedCore: The Potential Construction Industry Game Changer

October 6
Eric Herbert, PE, SE, ND CE 2012; Structural Bridge Engineer, Kiewit Infrastructure Engineers
Becoming an Engineer One Bridge at a Time

September 22
Raymond “Paul” Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE; Senior Estimating Manager, Kiewit, and civil engineering historian
Building Brooklyn Bridge

September 8
Lisa V. Lucas, ND CE 1989; Research General Engineer, USGS Water Resources Mission Area
Are More Complex Models Necessarily Better? A case for simple models and
timescale-based approaches in environmental problem solving

September 1
Keli Dudek, PE, SE, ND CE 2000; Owner/Principal, KeliAnn Engineering
Lessons Learned by a Structural Engineer

2021-2022 Seminars


April 21
Melissa Burton; Principal, Arup Canada and a Fellow of Wind Engineering
Engineering Resilience: Designing the World’s Tallest Buildings for a Changing Wind Climate

April 7
Greg Benz, ND B. Arch ’76, RA, AICP; Senior Vice President, WSP
The Time Has Come: Infrastructure Investment in AMTRAK’s Northeast Corridor

March 31
Alessandro Beghini, PhD PE SE LEED; Associate Principal, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, San Francisco
The Engineering of Art and Architecture

March 24
Michael Schubert, PE; HDR Engineering, Boise Idaho
Integrating Boise River Management Using 2D Hydraulic Modeling

March 17
Ed DePaola, PE, SECB, F.SEI; President & CEO, Severud Associates
The Changing Skyline of Midtown Manhattan

February 3
Antonio Bobet; Edgar B. and Hedwig M. Olson Professor in Civil Engineering, Purdue University
The Expansion of the Panama Canal

January 13
Ann-Perry Witmer, Ph.D., P.E.; Research Scientist, Applied Research Institute; Lecturer, College of Engineering, College of ACES, and Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Improving Engineering Outcomes Through the Application of Context


November 18
Andrew O’Donnell, PhD; Director of Operations, Research and Model Department, AIR Worldwide
Imagining the Storm: Developing Catastrophe Models to Quantify Risk in an Uncertain World

November 11
Art K. Umble, PhD, PE, BCEE, F.WEF; Senior Vice President, Global Wastewater Sector Leader, Director: Stantec Institute of Water Technology & Policy, Stantec Consulting, Inc.
Environment and Economy: Promoting Biomimicry Principles to Build a Circular Economy

November 4
Megan Crowley, Environmental Manager, Republic Services
Talking Trash: Harnessing the Power of Waste

October 28
Hugh J. Roberts, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Water Institute of the Gulf
What is Resilience: Lessons learned from two decades trying to answer this fundamental question

September 30
Kevin Murphy, Estimating Department Manager, Mass Electric Construction Co., Kiewit
Revitalizing Critical Operational Mass Transit Infrastructure

September 16
Michael J. Massman, Deputy Project Manager, Massman Construction Co.
Major River Bridges: Structure Type Selection and Construction

September 9
Erol Kalkan, PE; CEO & Founder, QuakeLogic
Next Generation Structural Health Monitoring and Smart Cities

September 2
Shirley J. Dyke, Professor of Civil Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University
Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats institute: Vision and Challenges

2020-2021 Seminars


April 29
Paul Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE; Senior Estimating Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., civil engineering historian
Building Mackinac Bridge

April 15
Eric Horvath, Public Works Executive Director, City of South Bend
Re-establishing a Sense of Place: South Bend’s Smart Streets Initiative

April 8
Edward Kavazanjian, Jr., PhD., P.E., D.GE, NAE; Ira A. Fulton Professor of Geotechnical Engineering and Regents Professor; Director, Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, Arizona State University
Geo-Alchemy (Turning Sand into Sandstone) and Other Biotechnologies

March 25
Dennis Murphy, Retired, President Kiewit Engineering Co.
Meeting the Challenges of Infrastructure Improvement Using Innovative Construction Engineering

March 18
Ted P. Zoli, III, PE; National Bridge Chief Engineer, HNTB
Bridge Design as Craft: Insights from 30 Years of Practice and Teaching

February 25
William E. Kelly, PE, ND Geology ’65, ND CE BS ’65, MS ’69, PhD ’72; Retired. Director of External Affairs, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Retired Professor of Civil Engineering and Dean of the School of Engineering, Catholic University of America
The ASCE DRAFT Standard Requirements for Sustainable Infrastructure

February 18
Mark Petersen, Research Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Ocean Modeling in the High Desert

February 11
Patricia J. Culligan, Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering, Notre Dame, Professor of Civil Engineering
Green Infrastructure and Urban Sustainability


November 5
Gregory P. Benz, ND B. Arch ’76, RA, AICP; Senior Vice President, WSP
Future Ready™ — Question Today, Imagine Tomorrow, Create for the Future, Research & Innovation Driving Professional Practice

October 29
Katie Wilson, P.E., ND CEEES ’14 and Allegis Sant, ND CEEES ’15; Project Managers, Clark Construction Group LLCA
Careers in Construction – Problem Solving Through the Life Cycle of a Project

October 8
Raymond “Paul” Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE; Senior Estimating Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., Civil Engineering Historian
Building Golden Gate Bridge

October 1
James L. Barnard, Ph.D., D.Ing.h.c., Pr.Eng. BCEE, WEF Fellow, Dist. M. ASCE; Global Practice & Technology Leader, Advanced Biological Treatment, Black & Veatch
Good News and Bad News About Global Water Reclamation

September 17
Nancy G. Love, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE; Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan
Rethinking America’s Urban Water Infrastructure:Resource Efficiency, Access, and Public Health

September 3
Don Howard, Professor of Philosophy and Fellow, Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, Notre Dame
Expertise and Responsibility: Why the Possession of Specialist Knowledge Entails an Obligation to Moral and Political Action

August 27
Megan Hart, ND CEEES B.S. ’08, Ph.D. ’16; Managing Director, Reinsurance Solutions, Aon
Preparing for the Storm: Managing Risk using Catastrophe Models and Lessons Learned from Past Events

2019-2020 Seminars


April 16
Joan B. Rose, PhD; Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research, Michigan State University
My Life at the Intersection of Water Microbiology, Engineering and Health

March 26
William E. Kelly, PE; ND Geology ’65, ND CE BS ’65, MS ’69, PhD ’72 Retired. Director of External Affairs, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Retired Professor of Civil Engineering and Dean of the School of Engineering, Catholic University of America
Infrastructure Underpins Sustainable Development

February 20
Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, PhD, MPH; Director, Master of Science in Global Health Program, Eck Institute for Global Health and Assistant Director of Community Health and Policy for the Center for Civic Innovation, ND
Lead Screening Kit: Development and Implications of a Low-cost, Proactive Screening Tool for Environmental Lead in Homes

February 13
Abigail Weaver; PhD Postdoc, Shrout Lab, ND CEEES Department
Detecting Fake and Tainted Medicines Globally

February 6
Nima Rahbar, PhD; Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Bioinspired Design of Novel Structural Materials

January 30
James E. Alleman, ND CE BS ’71, MS ’72, PhD ’78; Director – Master of Engineering, ND CEEES
The World’s Largest Land-Based Moving Structure @ Chernobyl, Ukraine

January 23
Suzanne M. Provanzana, PE, SE, LEED AP, ND CE ’98; Associate Principal, BuroHappold Engineering, Chicago
Adaptive Reuse: Recycling Structure


November 14
Jeremy Isenberg, PE, NAE, Dist.M. ASCE, F.SEI; Past-President & CEO, Weidlinger Associates, Inc.; Adjunct Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford
A Planetarium in a Jewel Box and a Tunnel Beneath Boston Harbor

October 31
Joe Adams, President of Energy and Industry, MWH (now Stantec); Past President, Engineers Without Borders USA
Working in 30 Countries Over 40 Years: Opportunities for Engineers Have No Bounds

October 17
Victoria Warren, ND alum; Director, Hydrogeology and Superfund, Republic Services, Inc.
Groundwater Protection at a Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill … Tales from the Field

October 3
Veronica Cedillos, PE; President, GeoHazards International, GHI
Reducing Natural Hazard Risk in Vulnerable Communities through Science and Engineering

September 26
Paul Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE; Senior Estimating Manager, Kiewit; Civil Engineering, Historian
Building the Transcontinental Railroad

September 12
Chad Quaglia, ND CE MS ’14; Bridge Engineer III, HNTB Corporation
Bridge Design Challenges in an Urban Environment

August 29
Michael Massman, ND CE ’13; Project Manager, Massman Construction Co.
Design/Build on the Mississippi: The Champ Clark Bridge Replacement

2018-2019 Seminars


April 4
Monroe Weber-Shirk, PhD; Senior Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Founder AguaClara
The Next Generation of Ultra-low Energy, Sustainable Surface Water Treatment Technologies for Small Systems

March 7
Michael Traylor, Co-President/CEO and Co-Chairman of the Board, Traylor Construction Group, Inc.
The Challenges, Responsibilities and Self Satisfaction of a Heavy Civil Construction Engineer

February 21
Gregory Benz, ND Arch ’76; Senior Vice President, WSP
Publish and Flourish: Pursuing Research, Innovation and Engagement during Your Professional Career

February 7
Paul Bredt, PhD; Division Director of the Nuclear Sciences Division, Energy and Environment Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Back End of the Cold War

January 24
Matthew Gries, ND CE ’07; Senior Associate, Wiss Janney, Eltsner Associates
Evaluation and Repair of Natural Draft Cooling Tower

January 17
Sara Boukdad, ND CEEES ’16; Internship Program Manager, Notre Dame Center for Civic Innovation
Alicia Czarnecki, ND CEEES ’17; Project Engineer, City of South Bend Public Works Department
Using Engineering to Promote Resilient Neighborhoods in South Bend through Community-Engaged Design Thinking


November 15
Dave Lamoureux, PE ND CE ’99; Senior Structural Engineer, Kiewit Engineering Group
Evan Gerbo, ND CEEES Ph.D. student; Founding Principal, MIR Collective, Director of Master of Architecture Program and Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Virginia
Arlington Memorial Bridge Rehabilitation

November 8
George Sowers, Professor of Practice, Mechanical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Former United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vice President and Chief Scientist
Mining the Moon for Fun and Profit

October 11
Jeana Ripple, AIA, LEED AP, ND CSE ’01; Founding Principal, MIR Collective, Director of Master of Architecture Program and Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Virginia
Generative Material Practice

October 4
David A. Dzombak, Hammerschlag University Professor and Head, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
Climate Change Adaptation for Infrastructure: A Grand Challenge for Civil and Environmental Engineering

September 27
James J. Walsh, PE, BCEE, ND CE ’74; President/CEO, SCS Engineers
Brownfields Remediation – Returning Contaminated Urban Properties to Productive Community Use

September 20
Victoria Arbitrio, PE, SECB, F.SEI; Associate Partner, Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP
Building in New York

September 13
Raymond “Paul” Giroux, Dist. M.ASCE; Senior Estimating Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., civil engineering historian
Building the Eads Bridge

September 6
Kuldip Kumar, Senior Environmental Scientist, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Chicago
Emerging Contaminants in the Environment: What’s the Scoop with Animal and Human Poop?

August 30
Joe Benco, ND CE ’93; Vice President, Engineering Technical Support, Republic Services, Inc.
Implementing Environmental Protection: How Regulation Created Opportunity in the Solid Waste Industry