When Professor Muhammad Hajj joined Stevens Institute of Technology in 2018 as the chair for the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering (CEOE), his intention was clear: "We aim to future-proof the department, and do what we do best,” he said.
Hajj began his tenure in the department from a position of strength. "Great things are already happening in CEOE," he said. "We have excellent undergraduate programs with an impressive percentage of students landing jobs before they graduate. Our program is ranked #1 in the nation by gradreports.com when it comes to the median salary of our graduates one year after graduating. We offer master’s programs that have given professionals around the globe opportunities to advance their careers."
But that was only the beginning. Hajj’s vision was to not only ensure the longevity of the department, but also to reinforce key research pillars for the school and the university. "Looking toward the future,” he said, “we must ensure that our CEOE degree programs have the rigor and flexibility that enable our graduates to lead in new areas, including the abilities to develop civil, environmental, and ocean systems that are resilient to cyber-physical security threats, and to implement data science as a new paradigm in predicting low-probability high-consequence hazards to these systems and in their design and construction and monitoring processes."
To the ultimate end of departmental growth, the department recruited seven new faculty members, in addition to Hajj, between the 2018-2020 academic years. The recruitment of these faculty members fits within the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science strategic plan to expand the school’s research profile and offer a broader learning experience to the students.
The new faculty members appreciate the rigorous academic environment at Stevens as an ideal setting to support their work and research. “I intend to make use of the existing research tools and the synergy between the different teams to address new scientific questions and develop new applications for regional and national stakeholders,” said Associate Professor Marouanne Temimi. “I look forward to leveraging my academic and industrial experience and use machine learning to blend precipitation estimates with other explanatory variables like soil moisture, topography, radar echo, and so forth to improve precipitation forecast as an additional capability of the Stevens Flood Advisory System.”
Similarly, Assistant Professor Yi Bao said, “The Stevens community has a strong group of researchers with expertise in many different areas that I can collaborate with. This is particularly important for my interdisciplinary research. My current research focuses on reconfigurable structures developed by using advanced materials and smart sensors. My research aims to improve the resilience and sustainability of civil infrastructure through innovative structural design, materials, and sensing technologies.”
Also researching innovative structural materials is Assistant Professor Weina Meng. “My research area includes development, multi-scale characterization and modeling, optimization of manufacturing processing, and structural application of advanced concrete materials. Stevens supports me with the Advanced Construction Materials Lab. We have equipment for concrete mixing, curing, all kinds of mechanical testing, durability testing, and materials characterization. With state-of-the-art facilities, various research projects from DOT, DOE, and NSF can be conducted.”
Assistant Professor Kaijian Liu also performs research in the field of advanced informatics and analytics for the development and management of smart, sustainable, and resilient built environments. “My research aims to advance our theoretical and practical understanding of how to design, construct, and maintain smart, sustainable, and resilient buildings, infrastructure systems, and cities – using semantic, data-driven, and machine learning approaches—with a focus on studying the intersection of the physical, the data, and the human aspects. The six foundational pillars at Stevens create a dynamic environment for me to collaborate with experts in these strategic areas to conduct interdisciplinary research, which is the key to addressing the challenges we are facing towards developing smart built environments,” said Liu.
Similarly, the main applications of Professor Rita Sousa’s research are in infrastructure and energy systems. “I study the geomechanics of the subsurface by combining probabilistic methods and machine learning techniques.” she said. “Some of my research topics include ground forecasting for tunneling using data analytics and machine learning techniques, discrete 3D fracture, network fracture and fracture flow modelling, and geohazard characterization and modeling.”
Joining the department’s already strong research team in coastal resilience is Assistant Professor Reza Marsooli, who combines theories, data analysis, and numerical modeling to study wave hazards, inland and coastal flooding, flood mitigation by green infrastructure, and coastal hydrodynamics. “My research activities, which require performing compute-intensive numerical simulations using mathematical models, specifically benefit from available computational resources at Stevens including high-performance computational clusters,” said Marsooli.
At the boundary between storm hazards and structural design is Assistant Professor Mohammad Ilbeigi. “My overall research area focuses on developing data-driven methods to analyze uncertainties in infrastructure development,” added Ilbeigi. “Particularly, my current research projects aim to design and analyze integrated and resilient infrastructure systems that can function reliably under the stress of extreme events such as natural disasters.”
New Professors in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Yi Bao, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D.: University of Missouri, Rolla
Recent Affiliation: University of Michigan
Specialization: Sustainable Smart Structures, Structural Health Monitoring
Kaijian Liu, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D.: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Recent Affiliation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Specialization: Informatics and Analytics for the Development and Management of Smart, Sustainable, and Resilient Built Environment
Reza Marsooli, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D.: University of Mississippi
Recent Affiliation: Princeton University
Specialization: Fluid Dynamics in Riverine and Coastal Systems, Coastal Engineering
Weina Meng, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D.: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Recent Affiliation: Journal of Applied Science
Specialization: Advanced High-performance Construction Materials, Sustainable and Resilient Construction Materials for Structural Applications, Multiscale Experimental Testing and Numerical Modeling, and Physical and Chemical Analyses and Modeling
Rita Sousa, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Recent Affiliation: Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi
Specialization: Geotechnical Engineering and Geomechanics of the Subsurface
Marouanne Temimi, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D: Université du Québec
Recent Affiliation: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology
Specialization: Water Resources Management
Mohammad Ilbeigi, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering
Ph.D.: Georgia Institute of Technology
Recent Affiliation: Bowling Green State University
Specialization: Advanced Statistical and Computational Analysis focused on Uncertainties in Infrastructure Systems
Learn more about the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering at Stevens: