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UTA students awarded prestigious fellowship to study transportation issues

Eleven students in the Colleges of Engineering, Business and Science at The University of Texas at Arlington have received coveted Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Laureano Hoyos

Laureano Hoyos, UTA civil engineering professor

“This is a very prestigious program,” said Laureano Hoyos, professor of civil engineering. “Students who have Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships on their résumés are highly thought of by employers. It speaks to the breadth of excellent research being done in this area at UTA.”

UTA’s recipients include engineering students Carlye Lide, Rinu Samuel, Jean Gamarra, Nice Kaneza, Daniel Green, LaTasha Taylor Starr and Xuelin Wang; science students Traci Bricka, Ayobami Ojo and Jessica Bullock; and business student Michael McDaniel.

Lide and Samuel are repeat winners. Lide was awarded $10,000 this year after receiving $3,500 last year, and Samuel was awarded $8,000 this year after receiving $10,000 last year. Awards range from $1,500 to $10,000.

The mission of the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program is to attract the nation’s brightest minds to the field of transportation, advance transportation workforce development and retain top talent in the U.S. transportation industry. Fellowships are merit-based, and a total of 150-200 are generally distributed nationwide each year.

Hoyos and the Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars, or CTEDD, administer the program at UTA. CTEDD is a federally designated University Transportation Center led by UTA in partnership with California Polytechnic State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Florida.

Having 11 students earn Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships demonstrates UTA’s commitment to transforming the student experience by enhancing access and ensuring success, one of the guiding aspirations of the University’s Strategic Plan 2020, explained Duane Dimos, UTA’s vice president for research.

“It is fantastic to see our students earning these fellowships on the strength of their research here at UTA,” Dimos said. “We are lucky to have students of this caliber as we continue to grow our research enterprise.”

Recipients of the Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship have pushed for innovative change in areas such as highway, aviation and maritime infrastructure, and have pursued careers in academia, private industry and public service.

In addition to CTEDD, UTA is a member of two other federally designated University Transportation Centers: the National Institute for Transportation and Communities and the Transportation Consortium of South-Central States.

Funding for research in transportation-related areas at UTA includes:

  • Two, two-year projects headed by civil engineering faculty Mohsen Shahandashti and Sahadat Hossain worth more than $518,000 from the Texas Department of Transportation to better monitor and predict soil weakness, which can lead to slope failures on state highways.
  • A pair of projects for civil engineering Assistant Professor Sharareh Kermanshachi, one of which is a $223,652 award from the Texas Department of Transportation to determine and prioritize the risks encountered by construction, maintenance and specialty inspectors and develop best practices to optimize performance of field inspectors. Kermanshachi also received a $39,183 grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to analyze project delivery time, execution cost and change orders using both in-house design and construction, and engineering and inspection consultants.
  • A grant through the National Institute for Transportation and Communities for civil engineering Assistant Professor Kate Hyun to explore data fusion techniques that will provide planners with better data on potential bicycle volumes for a city.
  • A recently published study by Assistant Professor Shima Hamidi and two of her doctoral students, Jinat Jahan and Somayeh Moazzeni, that shows the importance of affordable mass transportation being accessible to those in subsidized housing.

 -- written by Jeremy Agor