Street smarts

A street in today’s digital age is more than just a route from the proverbial point A to point B. Thanks to the use of sensors, cameras, connected devices, and other data-gathering technology, the streets and their surrounding infrastructure can collect valuable information to help city leaders, urban planners, transportation department officials, and various types of engineers provide myriad benefits to the public. These include improving traffic flows and parking, making public transit more reliable and efficient, creating safer intersections, supporting electric and autonomous vehicles, monitoring weather and environmental quality conditions, scheduling maintenance work, assisting the police, and many

Multidisciplinary course addresses tomorrow’s smart cities

Transportation systems are changing rapidly and engineering colleges need to keep up with those changes. Autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, connected roadways, et cetera, are being tested around the country and are likely to become more mainstream in the coming decades, so our schools need to train our engineers to work in these fields. One such school that is aiming to do just that is Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. CMU offers an advanced undergraduate elective transportation course that is split into half semesters. The first is a “traditional” course in traffic engineering, which is taught by a

Preparing for inundation

Tsunamis might be infrequent and localized, but their impact on coastlines can be catastrophic. Over the past 10 years, engineers have been gearing up to better prepare structures and communities for inundation. With the inclusion of tsunami-resistant design provisions in the Minimum Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE/SEI7-16 and the adoption of this standard into the 2018 International Building Code, as well as the design and construction of the first structures to meet these codes, their work has been rewarded.

In most basic terms, tsunamis are caused by the massive displacement of water that

Training for disaster

The structural complexes used to train first responders must accommodate a wide range of theoretical and practical learning. From classroom spaces to built-to-burn assemblies to buildings within buildings, these special structures must embody cutting-edge designs to be able to be pushed to the extremes by their users.

Public safety training facilities — those complexes at which first responders are trained — must serve many purposes. They are the locations at which recruits are first trained to control fires or stop active shooters and at which veteran safety personnel further hone their specialized skills. They must accommodate theoretical and practical

Hands-on, real-world education

Celso Ferreira, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, is an assistant professor in the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia. He teaches classes that focus on water resources engineering and the effects that water-related weather events, such as hurricanes, can have on civil engineering infrastructure.

Knowing that there needed to be a change in the way civil engineers are taught so that they can become creative problem solvers who can conceptualize and implement novel and inventive engineering design approaches, Ferreira decided to change the way content was delivered in

Mixed-reality game teaches geotechnical engineering concepts

Teaching methods are evolving as instructors and researchers embrace the knowledge that there is more than one way for students to learn. We are rapidly moving toward an educational landscape in which the mastery of professional skills—such as teamwork, communication, ethical judgment, and critical thinking—is just as important as the mastery of technical ones. What’s more, employers are looking for candidates who have these technical and professional skills, but they are also looking for those who have practical experience, and engineering programs are often challenged by balancing accreditation requirements and attempts to infuse these elements into their curricula. 

Peer leaders help students learn statics in college course

Melanie Villatoro, P.E., M.ASCE, is an assistant professor in the Department of Construction Management and Civil Engineering Technology (CMCE) at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, New York. She teaches Statics, which is a required course for freshmen construction management and civil engineering technology majors. It is the first of four in the department’s design course sequence; therefore, mastering the material is vital, because students must pass this course to proceed to the others in the sequence. One method Villatoro has implemented in Statics to foster success is the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) instructional model. 


Build relationships, have courage, and really listen

Katherine Latham, A.M.ASCE
Current title
Founder and Managing Partner, Talman Consultants LLC
Previous title
Project Manager (HBK Engineering LLC)

In 2016, after just five years in practice, Katherine Latham, A.M.ASCE, founded her own engineering consulting firm, Talman Consultants LLC, a certified women’s business enterprise and disadvantaged business enterprise based in Chicago that specializes in telecommunications and utility infrastructure management. She is responsible for business operations, client relationships, and project management oversight and has found success by taking the time to develop and actively manage relationships—with clients, coworkers, and peers.

When and why did you decide to start your own engineering firm?
I opened