Research Team

PhD Students

Meredith Brown is a PhD student in Sustainable Systems Engineering. She earned her Master’s in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Rice University in Houston. Her research interests include critical infrastructure decline due to climate change. Her current research project focuses on sociotechnical barriers to successful infrastructural adaptation and accelerating erosion in coastal populations in rural Alaska and its relationship to critical infrastructure and social vulnerability. She is co-advised with Dr. Passalacqua.

Kyudong Kim is a PhD in Construction Engineering and Project Management. He earned his Master’s degree in Construction Engineering and Project Management from UT Austin and Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Seoul National University of Science and Technology. Before joining a graduate program at UT Austin, he worked for a construction company for 12 years, as a project control manager or a field engineer at construction sites in Korea, UAE, Kuwait, India, and Indonesia, and as a human resource staff at head office. His research interest is construction sustainability, including organizational disaster resilience and engineering education. He is currently engaged in projects for beneficial changes and organizational adaptabilities in construction industry during the pandemic as well as evaluating macroethics in undergraduate engineering education.

Michaela LaPatin is a PhD student in Construction Engineering and Project Management. She earned her Master’s degree in Sustainable Systems from UT and her BS in Civil Engineering and Management from Bucknell University. She worked as an Assistant Project Manager for a general contractor and earned her Professional Engineering license prior to attending UT. Her research focuses on the convergence of water infrastructure, social systems, and policy. Her past projects evaluated macroethics in undergraduate engineering education and the cost of controversy on energy infrastructure projects. Her current project focuses on water infrastructure and services in Rural Alaskan communities. Michaela is especially interested in the intersections between water infrastructure, workforce development, and affordable housing.

Miriam Tariq is a Ph.D. student in Sustainable Systems Engineering. She earned her Master’s in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University. Her past research focused on understanding public perception of water infrastructure services in shrinking U.S. cities. Her current research revolves around developing socio-technical solutions to water infrastructure challenges in varying contexts. Her current projects focus on water infrastructure services in rural Alaska and water reuse in the industrial sector. She hopes to establish a career at the intersection of water infrastructure and public policy.

Helena Tiedmann is a Ph.D. student in Sustainable Systems Engineering. She holds a Master of Science in Energy and Earth Resources from The University of Texas at Austin and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geology and Political Science from Beloit College in Wisconsin. She is passionate about understanding human-infrastructure interactions in the context of climate change and other extreme events. Helena’s current projects involve using hydraulic models to understand the impacts of COVID-19 social distancing policies on urban water infrastructure systems, investigating water infrastructure recovery from extreme events, and modeling controversy in energy projects. She is co-advised with Dr. Lina Sela.

Twitter: @HelenaTiedmann

headshot_ejEuijin (EJ) Yang is a PhD candidate in Construction Engineering and Project Management program in the Civil Engineering Department. He earned his dual Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and Chung-Nam National University, and a Masters in Civil Engineering at UT Austin. His research interest includes understanding human-infrastructure interactions, public perceptions on water infrastructure in shrinking cities, infrastructure management, and community resilience and vulnerability to environmental changes. His dissertations studies focus on (1) understanding micro-interactions between end-users and water infrastructure system (public trust, water use behaviors) using statistical modeling and qualitative analysis; and (2) quantifying the impact of population dynamics on the robustness of water network system using the network theory.

Luis Carlos Caro-Delgado

 

Masters Students

Cristian Ortuno is a master’s student for construction engineering and project management. He has previously earned a BS Civil Engineering degree and a MBA degree back in his home country Bolivia. He has significant experience working in the water utility industry for undeveloped communities in South America and has directed construction execution in remote areas subject to extreme conditions. He is currently working on an project for a municipal utility entity with a diverse team of industry professionals, the team is aimed at improving service resilience and quality through the analysis of several critical events that took place over the past few years.

Undergraduate Students

Sara Barrens is an undergraduate student earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering and is anticipating graduation in 2024. She is a recipient of the Academy Undergraduate Research Program Scholarship. Sara attended the Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University, where she also began building research experience. She is working under Michaela LaPatin on a project evaluating ethics in engineering education. In addition to her major, she is earning a Bridging Disciplines Certificate in Education, Language, and Literacy

Prachi Mehendale is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the Academy Undergraduate Research Program Scholarship. Prachi is working under Lauryn Spearing on a project examining barriers to resilient water infrastructure in rural Alaska. After graduating in 2023, she plans to work on projects to increase water accessibility across the U.S., and for the prioritization of the environmental health of marginalized groups.

 

 

Group Alumni

PhD Students

Osman, Khalid K. Summer 2022 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
The Operationalization of Equity in the Provision of Water Infrastructure Services
Placement post-graduation: Assistant Professor, Stanford Univ.
Spearing, Lauryn Summer 2021 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
The Cascading Impacts of Disasters: Understanding how Disaster-Induced Population Changes Impact Water Infrastructure Systems and the Built Environment
Placement post-graduation: Assistant Professor, Univ. of Illinois Chicago
Bakchan, Amal Summer 2021 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Integrated Approaches for Understanding the Operating Environments of Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Systems in times of Population Dynamics
Placement post-graduation: Post-doc, Univ. of South Alabama
Abel, Kelsey Summer 2021 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Modeling Complex Human Systems: Applying Hybrid Methodologies to Simulate and Disrupt Food Inaccessibility and Cascading Impacts
Placement post-graduation: Post-doc, Sandia National Labs
Araya, Felipe Summer 2020 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Understanding hosting communities as a stakeholder in the provision of urban infrastructure to displaced populations
Placement post-graduation: Assistant Professor, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
Faure, Julie Fall 2019 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Adapting housing and water sector infrastructure to population dynamics
Placement post-graduation: Sustainability engineer, Austin Water Utility

 

Master’s Students 

Thesis
Kim, Kyudong Summer 2022 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Undergraduate Engineering Students’ Moral Sensitivity and Effects of Ethics Education
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student, Univ. of Texas at Austin
La Bissoniere, Bryan  Spring 2022 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
Evaluating Strategies, Opportunities, and Tensions for Implementing Green Stormwater Infrastructure at the Site Scale
Placement post-graduation: Austin Water Utility
LaPatin, Michaela  Fall 2021 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Engineering in a Crisis: Observing Students’ Perceived Roles of Engineers During Pandemics and Natural Disasters
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student, Univ. of Texas at Austin
Tariq, Miriam Fall 2021 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Assessing the Impact of Water Contamination Events and Socio-Demographic Drivers on the Willingness to Pay for Improved Water Quality
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student, Univ. of Texas at Austin
Tiedmann, Helena1 (co-supervised with Dr. Lina Sela) Spring 2021 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
Modeling in a Crisis: Overcoming the Water Sector’s Data Struggles to Realize the Potential of Hydraulic Models
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student, Univ. of Texas at Austin
Brown, Meredith Fall 2020 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Declining Household Plumbing in Certain Alaskan Census-Designated and Incorporated Places
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student at UT-Austin
Butcher, Daniel Fall 2020 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Understanding Multidimensional Aspects of Public Trust in the Water Infrastructure within US Shrinking Cities
Placement post-graduation: U.S. Air Force
Arnold, Stephanie Summer 2020 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
Operating at the intersection of social, engineered, and natural systems: Assessing hydrologic impacts of green stormwater infrastructure based on stated rates of adoption
Current placement: City of Austin, Watershed Protection Department
Rose, Heather1 (co-supervised with Dr. Michael Webber) Summer 2020 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
A study of the interdependency of hydroponic wastewater quality and the energy and costs for onsite treatment
Placement post-graduation:  Texas Water Development Board
Ibarra, Victoria Spring 2020 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
Can we measure equitable access at the intersection of social and natural systems? A look at the spatial and social distribution of  urban parks
Placement post-graduation: : Bureau of Land Management
Ribeiro Neto, Neuton1 (co-supervised with Dr. Carlos Caldas) Spring 2020 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Identification of strategies to overcome barriers for the implementation of advanced work packaging
Placement post-graduation: Verum Partners
Spearing, Lauryn Fall 2019 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Determining multi-level drivers of perceiving undesirable taste and odor in tap water: A joint modeling approach
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student at UT-Austin
Agbim, Chinelo Summer 2019 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
Residential electricity access: Objective versus subjective measures of energy poverty in Texas
Placement post-graduation: Energy Acuity
Choi, Seogjae1 (co-supervised with Dr. John Borcherding) Fall 2018 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Organizational fit and turnover in the construction industry: Exploring the impact of job characteristics among junior professionals
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student at UT-Austin
Guerra, Beatriz1 (co-supervised with Dr. Fernanda Leite) Summer 2018 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
BIM-based construction waste estimation algorithms for institutional projects
Placement post-graduation:  Autodesk
Osman, Khalid Summer 2018 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Temporal dynamics of willingness to pay for alternatives that increase the reliability of water and wastewater service
Placement post-graduation:  PhD Student at UT-Austin
Guerra Uribe, Monica Spring 2018 EWRE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Policy- driven water sector and energy dependencies in Texas border colonias
Placement post-graduation: Texas Organizing Project Development Department
Castaneda, Jorden Fall 2017 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Analyses of temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent construction standards on expeditionary US air bases
Placement post-graduation: U.S. Air Force
Faure, Julie Spring 2017 EWRE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Rapid population increase and urban housing systems: Legitimization of centralized emergency accommodations for displaced persons
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student at UT-Austin
Yang, Euijin Fall 2016 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Temporal dynamics of public perceptions toward water infrastructure in Us shrinking cities before and after the Flint Water Crisis
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student at UT-Austin
Abbott, Kristin Whitley1 (co-supervised with Dr. Carey King) Spring 2016 EER Univ. of Texas at Austin
At risk wastewater pipeline identification due to flooding
Placement post-graduation: Texas Public Utility Commission

Department Reports: 

Thompson, Peter Sum 2019 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: U.S. Army
Abel, Kelsey Fall 2018 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: PhD Student at UT-Austin
Albano, Amanda Fall 2018 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: Bohler Engineering
Piner, Rachel1 (co-supervised with Dr. Lina Sela) Fall 2018 EWRE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: K Friese + Associates
Hall, Derek Blake Sum 2018 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: U.S. Navy
Gholson,  Allice Fall 2017 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: U.S. Coast Guard
Eldred, Dan Sum 2017 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation:  U.S. Navy
Woodward, Billy Dewayne Spring 2017 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: U.S. Navy
Iyer, Akshaya Lalitha Fall 2016 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: Peritia Partners
Batista, Jonathan Alan Fall 2016 EWRE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: Riviera Beach Utility Special District
Prakash, Raghav Spring 2016 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation: AGS, Inc
Alkayali Alalam, Sara Spring 2016 CE Univ. of Texas at Austin
Placement post-graduation:  Deloitte Consulting