2021 Casagrande Award announced

ASCE has honored Katerina Ziotopoulou, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, and Xunchang Fei, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, as the two winners of the 2021 Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award.

Ziotopoulou is cited for outstanding contributions to the advancement of constitutive models for soils in earthquake engineering applications, the promotion of validation protocols in nonlinear deformation analyses, and dedicated service to the mentoring of students and women through critical transitions in engineering. Ziotopoulou has excelled in producing high-quality research in the area of constitutive modeling of soil liquefaction, and she has applied her contributions to applications including liquefaction triggering, seismic deformation of slopes, inelastic ground motion amplification, numerical modeling of experimental results, and ground improvement techniques. In the area of constitutive modeling and computational geomechanics, she developed the elastoplastic PM4Sand and PM4Silt models, which are being used by researchers and practicing engineers to predict deformations and pore pressures in seismic geomechanical numerical applications using computer programs such as FLAC from Itasca. These constitutive models have been used in practice by geotechnical firms on high-end projects such as the seismic assessment of the Port of San Francisco Seawall. Ziotopoulou was nominated by the Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics technical committee, and her nomination included highly supportive letters from leaders in her field. She has received several awards, including the Idriss Award for Excellence in Geotechnical Engineering. She has published 13 journal papers, 52 technical papers in conference proceedings, six book chapters, and 17 technical reports.

Fei is cited for significant contributions to geotechnical engineering research and outstanding promise to advance the disciplines further in pursuit of novel solutions to pressing geoenvironmental problems. Fei is considered an emerging expert in geoenvironmental engineering, and his contributions as well as accomplishments have already broadened the scope of his discipline in addressing important and timely societal challenges related to landfill use and concerns related to emerging contaminates. Fei was nominated by the Geo-Institute’s Geoenvironmental Technical Committee, and his nomination included strong letters of support from leaders in his field. His expertise and research are in the areas of management of municipal solid waste, soil remediation, PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances which are emerging contaminates), and hydro-thermo-chemobio-mechanical coupled processes. His research includes the development of fiber optic sensors for monitoring chemicals and obtaining hydrological parameters for use in underground geoenvironmental engineering application, and the study of the long-term behavior of treated incineration bottom ashes. His research promotes and has paved new sustainable pathways toward energy recovery and environmental stewardship. He has an impressive record of 23 journal and 10 conference publications and has received several awards, including the R.D. Woods Award, the EREF Scholarship, and the H.E. Riggs Engineering Fellowship.

The Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award is presented in recognition of outstanding accomplishments as evidenced by completed works, reports, or papers in the field of geotechnical engineering. The award was established to provide professional development opportunities for outstanding young practitioners, researchers, and teachers of geotechnical engineering.


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