Congratulations to four winners of AMAP's 2019 Dr. David R. Jones IV Scholarships

February 6, 2019
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The Association of Modified Asphalt Producers (AMAP) has selected four students from a pool of extremely qualified applicants as recipients of AMAP's Dr. David R. Jones IV scholarships for 2019.

Two undergraduates and two graduate students will each receive a stipend of $2,000. Winners were honored today at the awards luncheon of AMAP's 2019 Conference and Workshop.
  • Mahesh Acharya
    Idaho State University
  • Marco Rocha
    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Behnam Jahangiri 
    University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Jenna Metera 
    University of California, San Diego
AMAP thanks its members who have endowed this scholarship and continue to support students with education and career goals of improving asphalt through modification.

About the 2019 Winners

Mahesh Acharya  is a junior and undergraduate research assistant studying Civil & Environmental Engineering at Idaho State University under the supervision of Dr. Mustafa Mashal.
As an intern at Strata Inc. and ISU research assistant, Mahesh has had the opportunity to carry out asphalt testing, reducing HMA samples to testing size and calculating moisture content, asphalt binder content, specific gravity, and density. He is also familiar with gyratory compaction of asphalt mixtures and determination of volumetric properties of HMA.
Mahesh is knowledgeable about relevant ASTM standards and sampling/testing procedures for asphalt, concrete, and steel. He is the part of an Idaho Transportation Department-funded project at ISU titled "Field Performance of High Early Strength Class 50A concrete with Polypropylene Fibers used as Field-Cast Connection between Deck Bulb-T Girders in Accelerated Bridge Construction." He is also involved in developing novel concrete mixes using recycled materials and the construction and testing of full-scale structural concrete insulated panels.
Mahesh is looking forward to learning modern engineering techniques for asphalt and concrete used in developed countries and taking that knowledge back to Nepal to help his country. He is impressed with the rumble strips on highways in the United States and wants to build them on highways of Nepal. Beyond engineering, he loves playing soccer, traveling, hiking, and camping.

Marco Rocha  is a junior at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth studying Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is also minoring in Sustainability and Mathematics.

Marco is serving his second term as president of the UMass Dartmouth American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter where he takes pride in leading fellow civil engineering students through ASCE's annual concrete canoe competition and making concrete float (to the bewilderment of onlookers). He is also serving his second term as vice president of the Engineers Without Borders student chapter, through which he launched an initiative for the implementation of vegetated swales to manage and filter stormwater runoff on the UMass Dartmouth campus.

Marco also works under the supervision of Dr. Walaa Mogawer  as research assistant at the Highway Sustainability Research Center in Fall River, Massachusetts. There he is working on utilizing a performance-based balanced mix design approach to map out where HMA mixes with RAP levels higher than the statewide limit can be used throughout Massachusetts. He is also interested in pavement preservation practices, in-place recycling, and more effective pothole repair techniques.

Behnam Jahangiri is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia studying under advisor Dr. Bill Buttlar. Behnam also holds an M.S. degree in Pavement Engineering from Sharif University of Technology and a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology.

As a graduate research assistant at the Missouri Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Lab, he has been working on cutting-edge research areas related to smart infrastructure systems and innovative construction materials to address real-world concerns in the asphalt industry. Currently, Behnam's research is focused on the development of performance specifications for the Illinois Tollway. He is also involved in the characterization of a wide variety of modern and heterogeneous asphalt mixtures containing recycled materials - RAP, RAS, rubber, and waste plastic -for the Missouri Department of Transportation and for industry.

In addition, Behnam conducts research in advanced machine learning/artificial intelligence methods for material characterization, as well as deployment of sensors for civil infrastructure condition assessment.

Jenna Metera, a native of Binghamton, New York, received her B.S. in Ceramic Engineering in 2018 from the Inamori School of Engineering at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. During her time at Alfred University, she was inducted into the ceramic honors society, Keramos, and held an elected position as treasurer. She was also awarded the Sigma Xi Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award.

Jenna is committed to pursue her Ph.D. in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego, under the supervision of Dr. Olivia Graeve. She worked as an intern on the Asphalt Innovation Team at Owens Corning Science & Technology for the summer of 2018 using rheological patterns to investigate different compositions of asphalt.

Jenna loves to travel and document the her endeavors on camera, spending her off time learning about landscape and urban photography. Another hobby she has recently explored is gardening in her challengingly small patio space, growing lots of flowers, peppers, arugula, and spices.


Jim Sattler

Better Roads from Better Technology