A Message from the Chair

Dear Friends of Civil and Environmental Engineering,


It has been an eventful few months since the last newsletter for our students, staff, faculty and alumni here in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). With multiple scholarship recipients, a new student chapter of the American Rock Mechanics Association, five ambitious student-led teams participating in competitions, new faculty research awards and scholarly work, and international recognition, we are continuously moving forward with our mission of excellence.


First and foremost, it is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of our beloved alumnus and CEE Industrial Advisory Board member, David Good, on January 23, 2023. Not only was Dave a regular in CEE, he also played a huge role establishing the first ever 3D Printed Bridge Competition for both collegiate and high schools here at NJIT. The collegiate competition is now being run by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at the regional competition taking place later this month. His lasting impact on others was so influential that the Industrial Advisory Board decided to rename the high school competition the “David Good 3D Printed Bridge Competition” in his honor. The high school competition is also taking place later this month at NJIT.


On a lighter note, I am pleased to welcome two new members to our core CEE administration team. Cumhur Cosgun, Ph.D., joins us as Director of Labs in Education, overseeing all of our teaching labs. Dr. Cosgun comes to us from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as a senior civil engineer and Marshall University as a structural engineering lab manager. He has also worked at Istanbul University in Turkey as an assistant professor. Ms. Jessica Mandela also joins us as our new Administrative Coordinator. Before joining NJIT, she worked in the Linden Public School District as a technology technician. Interacting closely with students daily, she prides herself in building lasting relationships, maintaining clear communication and empowering those around her.


Recently, Dr. Fadi Karaa, the Director of our Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Critical Infrastructure Systems masters campus programs, was honored as this year’s, by the American Council of Engineering (ACECNJ), "Educator of the Year". He was recognized at the ACECNJ's 52nd Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet, along with three of our civil engineering students who received the top scholarship awards.


I have just barely touched on all of our accomplishments, so I invite you to read more about our recent CEE highlights in this edition of our Spring 2023 Newsletter. As always, I sincerely appreciate and welcome your support of our department’s academic, research and service initiatives. 



Taha F. Marhaba, P.E., F.ASCE

(973) 596-2444

(973) 596-5790 fax


NJIT's Civil Engineering Program Ranked #2 Nationwide

Newsletter Contents

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  • Faculty Highlights
  • Alumni Highlights
  • Winter Flashback
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In Remembrance

David Good

It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of our beloved alumnus and CEE Industrial Advisory Board member, David Good, on January 23, 2023. David received a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from NJIT in 1978 and 1992, respectively. He had a renowned career as a geotechnical engineer and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020 from the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He was a member of the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Industrial Advisory Board since 2012. He was known for his out-of-the-box and visionary ideas that brought numerous improvements to his alma mater. David was instrumental in creating the “Resilient Systems Planning and Design” course. This course was the first of its kind that touches on multidisciplinary aspects related to natural hazards, flood risks and climate change considerations from planning, design and management perspectives.


David joined Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers in 1980 and was promoted to Principal in 2015. He has conducted subsurface investigations in many soil profiles and defined design parameters for a wide range of geotechnical projects. He produced and managed a variety of designs, including excavations and foundations for new construction, underpinning, retrofits and rehabilitation. He was an accomplished trouble-shooter, because he was adept at defining the geotechnical problem – a rare capability in the world of complex engineering projects. Dave helped better define construction problems, provided inventive solutions, and served as an expert to define and effectively argue changed conditions claims and to resolve construction disputes.


Throughout his academic career, he undertook many notable projects, held widespread memberships, and received many honors. He has been either the author or co-author of articles and papers on geotechnical engineering topics, such as slurry walls and slurry trenches. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and the Pile Driving Contractors Association. He had a hand in the Manhattan West Development, the Edge Waterfront Development, the Manhattan West Development over the Penn Station rail corridor, and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital David H. Koch Ambulatory Care Center, among other projects. His legacy lives on. 


Renaming the 3D Printed Bridge Competition

Dave had an incredible impact on not only the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NJIT, but on everyone he encountered. He was the visionary behind NJIT’s 3D Printed Bridge Competition, both the collegiate and high school divisions, which took place in November 2021 at NJIT’s Makerspace. It made history as both the first intercollegiate and the first intermural 3D printed bridge competition on record. Dave championed this idea with CEE’s Industrial Advisory Board and contributed to every stage of the planning and execution, including the competition rules, the bridge testing procedure, promotion of the competition and judging. The collegiate competition is now being piloted as an ASCE student competition to explore its viability as a national competition to complement classic events, such as steel bridge and concrete canoe.


This year's high school division 3D competition is being held Sunday, April 30 and will honor Dave and his contributions. His vision for the competition was not simply a novel competition to advance emerging technologies for the built environment, but as a vehicle for social change. Seeing a gap in STEM outreach to high school students, Dave saw this as a way to help industry professionals partner with high school students to provide mentorship and material support for schools with limited resources. NJIT CEE continues to strive to achieve Dave’s vision of holistic and effective STEM outreach. His exceptional vision, motivation and eagerness to improve education, propose new ideas and engage in discussions, have substantially contributed to modernize and add practical and industrial dimensions to the civil engineering curriculum at NJIT. Therefore, it is my pleasure to announce, according to the Industrial Advisory Board, the renaming of our high school 3D Printed Bridge Competition to the “David Good 3D Printed Bridge Competition,” in honor of our memorable colleague, companion and friend.

To learn more about his journey in engineering, please watch his interview with Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers- An Evening with Dave Good

NJIT Internationally Recognized on Brazilian News Channel Globo

with Ph.D. Student Bruno Souza

Since Souza joined NJIT, he has been a standout scholar in the Department Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is currently the representative to the Graduate Student Association, a student government organization that represents the interests of all graduate students in university affairs. This past winter, Souza taught the online course "MECH 235 Engineering Mechanics: Statics" as an adjunct professor, all the way from Brazil. In the fall of 2022, he was asked to present at the American Chemical Society Conference in Chicago, adapting to a challenge his advisor, Jay Meegoda, proposed to him. Souza’s dedication to his scholarship is nearly unmatched, facing every encounter head-on and rising to the challenge.


Among Souza’s various achievements, he presented research on properly disposing of glass and plastics to Voice of the Ocean, an environmental organization led by the Schurmann family, whose mission is to conduct, support and promote science and communication regarding the sea and its dynamic processes. The Schurmanns, the first Brazilian family to travel around the world aboard a sailboat, learned about Souza’s research and decided to make a trip to New York City to meet him and visit NJIT and Colton Hall during their travels. The Schurmann family hope to raise awareness and engage people around the world about the need for urgent actions to clean the oceans. They are currently on a global journey to identify and select innovative startups that seek to bring alternative solutions to reduce the impacts generated by the production, consumption and disposal of plastics and microplastics. 

While at NJIT, the Schurmanns toured CEE labs and got a firsthand look at the project Souza and others are working on. Using a glass grinder, they are converting bottles and plastic into powder that will bind together to make pavement. They discussed future plans regarding research, microplastics and biodiversity. This project is led by fellow research assistant, Richard Marsh, who is working with Professor Jay Meegoda and Associate Professor Matthew Adams.

To see Souza, Meegoda, and Colton Hall featured on Brazilian’s News Channel Globo, click here.

U.S. News & World Report Ranks NJIT Online Programs

Two in the Top 50 Nationally

NJIT Receives $1.3M in Federal Funding for Engineering and Manufacturing Initiatives

Two of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s online graduate programs placed among the top 50 in this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings of American universities, with another breaking into the top 100. NJIT was ranked No. 29 for its information technology programs, a two-place jump from last year; and No. 47 for engineering, a 16-place rise.

NJIT’s graduate engineering programs have been nationally ranked since 2003, according to U.S. News and World Report, and Newark College of Engineering has been named a top 100 engineering graduate school for seven straight years. NJIT’s online programs offer flexible learning opportunities and include degrees in civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, engineering management, power and energy systems and transportation. Read More

NJIT will receive more than $1 million for new initiatives that will bolster engineering education, as well as manufacturing and mechatronics apprenticeship training, under a federal spending bill signed by President Joe Biden. The $1.7 trillion spending package carves out $1.3 million for the two new NJIT initiatives. The community college pre-engineering network initiative will develop community college-serving programs to strengthen the pathway and readiness for traditionally underserved students to pursue a STEM degree. Read More

American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) Student Chapter

(ARMA Student Board, pictured left to right: Isabel Zayas-Secretary, Melissa Casarini-Student Life and Engagement Liaison Officer, Ayushka More-Treasurer, & Mary Ngoma-President)

The NJIT American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) student chapter is the newest organization in the CEE Department. Oladoyin Kolawole, assistant professor of rock mechanics and rock engineering, is the proud faculty sponsor of this professional society. He has been with ARMA since 2016 as president, part of the organizing committee, and session co-chair. The student organizer is Mary Ngome, a teaching assistant to Kolawole and a Ph.D. student in geomechanics. ARMA NJIT’s goal is to disseminate information through presentations, meetings, publications (ARMA E-News), and topical symposia to give NJIT students and others a better idea about the state-of-the-art of rock mechanics knowledge and promote the development of knowledge within the field.


This June, ARMA is hosting its 57th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia. If chosen, selected students will have the opportunity to present in front of more than 6,000 individuals. ARMA is a professional and international engineering and scientific society, which promotes interaction among specialists, practitioners, scholars and educators in rock mechanics and geomechanics. They advocate for individuals and firms in all aspects of rock mechanics and geomechanics, including multidisciplinary rock physics and rock engineering technology advancement and technological applications for civil engineering, mining engineering and tunneling, oil and gas recovery, and geo-related socioeconomic problem-solving.

Meet our New Team Members

Cumhur Cosgun, Ph.D.

Cumhur Cosgun joined NJIT as the Director of Labs for Education. He holds B.S. M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering, and has a second master's degree in the Information Systems Engineering and Management Program from Harrisburg University. Before joining NJIT, he worked at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as a senior civil engineer and at Marshall University as a structural engineering lab manager. He has also worked at Istanbul University in Turkey as an assistant professor and taught numerous courses, including Reinforced Concrete Structures, Structural Analysis, Computer-Aided Design, Statics and Mechanics, Capstone Projects, and Performance-Based Structural Analysis. His research interests include the linear and nonlinear behavior of reinforced concrete structures and members; the design, repair and strengthening of structures under seismic loading; performance-based assessments of structures; the design and application of fiberglass-reinforced polymer materials on structures and members; experimental studies; and machine learning and deep learning used in structural engineering applications. He has published more than forty articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. His works have been published in top-tier outlets such as ASCE’s Journal of Composites for Construction, Composite Construction in Steel and Concrete, and Journal of Structural Engineering, and Elsevier’s Engineering Failure Analysis and Structures.

Jessica Mandela

Jessica Mandela joined NJIT as the department’s administrative coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Public Administration from Rutgers University and an A.S. in Liberal Studies from Union County College (UCC). Prior to joining CEE, she worked for the Linden Public School District as a technology technician for over three years. She managed mobile devices and software, a virtual teaching program called one-to-one, and supported computer software, while working closely with K-12 students. Staying involved as an alumnus, she founded The Equanimity Scholarship for the UCC Foundation, which provides funds that reduce students’ tuition bills. As a manager previously in the hospitality industry, she embodies leadership attributes in training, supervising and overall development.  

Experience Day

NJIT’s Spring 2023 Experience Day was held on Sunday, March 26th and hosted over 200 incoming first-year students. They were able to participate in-person to learn more about their intended majors and our CEE Department as a whole. Students have the opportunity to explore our campus, speak with academic advisors, faculty and staff, and get a glimpse of what their future will look like at NJIT.

Please enjoy this video from one of our adjunct professors, Simon Shim, to get a firsthand look on what to expect.

Artificial Intelligence

A core mission of the Smart Construction and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems (SCIIS) Lab at NJIT is to develop automated systems for infrastructure asset inspection and management in a more efficient, cost-effective and safer manner. Lab director, Rayan Assaad, an assistant professor, uses emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to develop intelligent robotic systems that can be used in applications such as bridge structure monitoring. One ongoing research project focuses on prototyping an intelligent robotic platform using a robot dog, camera, LiDAR, and IoT technologies to collect visual and point cloud data for monitoring the conditions of as-built facilities. These drawings specifically represent the physical layout of a building or structure, such as high bridges, and the outcome after a construction/rehabilitation project is complete. They are often difficult to access for human inspectors due to extreme work conditions and sometimes required to be shut down to ensure a safe inspection environment.


The proposed robot dog-based inspection system ably mimics complex human motions (e.g., crawling and climbing stairs) and tolerates hazardous work environments without causing any disruption in facility service. Therefore, these systems have great potential to assist in onsite inspection of built facilities. The research team will also apply and develop advanced machine learning algorithms to reconstruct a 3D model of an inspected structure using the collected data. In this way, it enables the robot dog platform to automatically process the collected visual and point cloud data in real time. Ultimately, the research team will validate the proposed system by inspecting a deteriorating highway bridge to dynamically detect, localize and quantify defects, such as cracks, using the reconstructed 3D model for advancing infrastructure asset inspection and management.

Enhancing Recycled Glass

NJIT and Israeli Engineers Create Clean Water Tech with Added Industrial Benefit

On the roof of NJIT’s Campus Center, speckled slabs composed of recycled glass and plastic bottles have successfully weathered the first leg of a year-long stress test. “We’re seeing how this composite withstands ultraviolet light, fluctuations in temperature, freezing and thawing cycles, rain and snow,” explains Richard Marsh, a master’s student in environmental engineering. “So far, there’s no crumbling or cracking.” Marsh is part of a team of engineers and architects who hope to develop innovative construction products from mixed-color container glass that “go beyond the tried and tested paving materials or cementitious composites.” Think architectural facade elements or landscaping products such as planters, pavers and retaining wall blocks.


“We’re trying to find a use for mixed-color glass without going through all of the processing that now occurs when it’s ground into fine powder and used as a replacement for sand in concrete,” he said. “We use it as an aggregate.” The group chose plastic bottles (25% of the mix) as a binder, because they are also recycled materials, easily recognizable everyday objects, and so help raise awareness for recycling,” he added. Only a quarter of the glass Americans use is currently recycled, the group notes, while it argues that manufacturing new glass products utilizing recycled glass requires 20% less energy and creates 20% less air pollution than glass produced from virgin materials. The reasons range from the logistical, to the aesthetic, to the psychological.


To begin with, Americans don’t separate glass. To do so at a recycling facility would require expensive equipment, such as optical sensors and robots. “The system is in place and it’s hard to change that,” Marsh said. “If you’re recycling, you think you’re doing a good thing. If we tell you that it’s mostly going to a landfill, you might be demoralized (and possibly recycle less).” Manufacturers don’t use recycled mixed-color glass to make new containers, because when it’s melted together it becomes the color of mud. While there is a long way to go before commercialization, the material’s surprisingly high compressive strength and durability coupled with its unique speckled look may make it a popular commodity in an environmentally-conscious future.

Environmental safety and corporate interests tend not to match, but engineers at NJIT and Israel's Ben Gurion University of the Negev found a way to filter dangerous nitrate from water while also reducing the energy needed to create industrial ammonia.


The research, Electrified Membrane System for Chemical-Free Ammonia Production / Separation from Nitrate Containing Wastewater, is supported by $450,000 in funding from the U.S.-Israeli Binational Science Foundation. It's related to a wider effort of removing hazardous compounds from water, and to membrane fouling research, both developed by many of the same faculty at NJIT and Israel's Ben Gurion University of the Negev as part of the universities' joint Institute for Future Technologies formed in 2021.


"The first problem is there's a lot of pollutants in wastewater that are bad for humans to consume. One of those is nitrate. Excessive nitrate in the water leads to health problems and various diseases for humans and even wild animals. It can get into the groundwater from industrial waste and things such as agricultural runoff. As we say in the proposal, there's 23 million people who are drinking water that has nitrate above the EPA limit. The limit is 50 milligrams per liter," explained NJIT's Joshua Young, assistant professor of chemical and materials engineering.


To continue reading more on this article, click here.

The ACEC 52nd Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet

Every year, Civil and Environmental students apply for multiple different scholarships through various organizations. If rewarded, recipients receive an invitation to be honored at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet. This year, the banquet was held on March 15 at the Forsgate Country Club in Jamesburg, where three NJIT civil engineering students were recognized. The department is proud that our students have the ambition to take advantage of the many resources Newark College of Engineering offers them.

Scholarship Recipients

George Mettry

2023 Ronald A. Wiss Memorial Scholarship

George Mettry, currently pursuing a B.S. and M.S in structural engineering, was honored as the recipient of the 2023 Ronald A. Wiss Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Jacobs Engineering. This scholarship is a tribute to Wiss and his enthusiastic support of many organizations and professional associations involved in advancing New Jersey’s most innovative transit and transportation projects. As a well-established senior, Mettry is a student ambassador for the John A. Reif, Jr. CEE Department and part of the ASCE student chapter, our 3D Printed Bridge team, our Steel Bridge team, and a student member of the Structural Engineering Association of New York. He has obtained two different internships as a construction estimator and a structural engineering intern. Mettry is also a two-time scholarship recipient, receiving his first from The Society of American Military Engineers this past October.


He remarks, “Since transferring to NJIT at the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester, I have been able to achieve and hold a position on the Dean's list every semester. I have also been very fortunate to earn two scholarships. Receiving the Ronald A. Wiss Scholarship is one of the biggest successes of my academic career thus far. I felt a sense of accomplishment knowing that Jacobs and the ACECNJ chose me over many qualified applicants for this prestigious award. It is a huge honor and achievement that I will remember for years to come over the course of my career. To be able to go up in front of many professional engineers and the entire ACECNJ committee and accept this award means so much to me. Not only was I representing myself in a positive way, but I was also representing our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the entire NJIT University. That is something that I do not take for granted.”

Jad Marhaba

2023 Bernard Langan Scholarship for Engineering Excellence

Jad Marhaba, a civil engineering major and member of the Albert Dorman Honors College, received the 2023 Bernard Langan Scholarship for Engineering Excellence, which was created as a tribute to Langan and to assist young people toward obtaining the foundation of their career: a strong technical education. At NJIT since 2020, Marhaba has shown leadership and resilience. During that time, he has participated in a multitude of projects, including several commercial land development proposals, a topographic survey of the NJIT campus, and a proposal for optimizing roadway traffic mitigation designs around the NJIT campus. Throughout his time at NJIT, Marhaba has demonstrated interest in the intersection between engineering and sustainable design, looking for worthwhile solutions to existing problems he comes across, whether at school or in the corporate world.


Marhaba has held internships with Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Merck, and, most recently, Tesla. At Tesla, he worked as an engineering program manager and was responsible for the full design and engineering efforts for construction and infrastructure development from concept to production at the Giga Texas headquarters. He also worked as an engineer focusing on supporting Tesla’s site development team. He worked on building expansion, factory layout, parking, roadway design, traffic mitigation, drainage, grading, signage, and permitting using AutoCAD Civil 3D and Bluebeam. Marhaba also assisted in the preparation of Gigafactory site-wide improvement presentations for CEO Elon Musk.

Alyssa Ciano

2023 T&M Foundation Scholarship

Alyssa Ciano, a third-year civil engineering student and resident assistant, was awarded the 2023 T&M Foundation Scholarship. Introduced to mechanical engineering in high school through an internship, she wasn’t particularly satisfied with the field, but knew there were other options. After researching other engineering disciplines, civil engineering caught her eye regarding the connection between the natural world and human interaction. Although civil engineering’s focus is on building, bridges, roads, and getting your hands dirty in the process, she prefers the parts of the field that more closely involve the environment and how we as humans interact with it. Therefore, she found a strong interest in geotechnical engineering. As a result, she has accepted a summer 2023 internship at SESI Consulting Engineers in a geotechnical position. Ciano is looking forward to getting out into the field and working alongside experienced engineers.


Ciano says, “Back in January, I applied for the ACECNJ scholarships, because I saw that there were multiple being awarded and that meant I might have a chance of winning. I thought maybe I could win a $1,000 or $2,000 scholarship, but did not really expect much from it. A few weeks after I submitted the application and essay, I received an email saying that I had won $10,000. I could not believe it, and reached out to multiple people to ensure that it was real (I thought there might've been a typo where they added an extra zero). I am so incredibly thankful to Don Di Zuzio and T&M Associates for awarding me this scholarship as it makes a huge dent in paying my tuition for my fourth and final year at NJIT. Furthermore, it was amazing to have the opportunity to go to the ACEC banquet where I met many distinguished engineers and had the ability to see real projects that had been done by some of the best engineers in the state. While the scholarship money and networking opportunities are greatly appreciated, I am also just proud to have been chosen, hearing that these talented and experienced people believe that I have the ability to become a great engineer. At this point in my college career, I feel that I have come a long way, and I am excited for whatever the future may hold for me."

NJIT Board of Trustee Scholars 2022

Joel Florim

Joel Florim was born and raised in Newark and went to Science Park High School, where he was a member of the Portuguese/Hispanic Honor Society. At NJIT, Florim joined the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and was part of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Steel Bridge Competition. Florim has also worked as an office and lab assistant for NJIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In November of 2021, he was awarded Highlander Scholar of the Month. He interned at the Smart Construction and Intelligent Infrastructure Systems research lab at NJIT. Florim transferred into the Honors College at the start of the 2022 fall semester. He plans to continue his education and pursue a master’s in civil engineering. He adds, “I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for their support and to the Honors College for giving me the opportunity to enrich my learning experience at NJIT.” Public Session Book 11-17-2022

Jason Lin

Jason Lin is a second-year civil engineering major and transfer into the Albert Dorman Honors College. “Being the first person in my family to go to college means that I went into the entire process without knowing what it entails, but I ended up making the perfect choice with NJIT. Although my first year here has been relatively normal and filled with General Education requirements, I was able to create friendships with the amazing people around me and that is enough reason to have no regrets. After transferring into the Albert Dorman Honors College at the end of my first year, the volunteer and scholarship opportunities available allowed me to become a bigger part of society. I also want to take this chance to be a well-rounded person who's not only strong academically, but also has other qualities that will make me a better person. After college, I want to pursue a position in structural engineering, something I've been intrigued with since elementary school after having built towers out of playing cards. I want to acquire a master's degree and design multiple projects from start to finish. There's something special about being involved in something so completely, and it's what gives me euphoria.” Public Session Book 11-17-2022

Interview with Elizabeth Mundkowsky

Recipient of

2023 Outstanding Senior in the John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


2023 Newark College of Engineering Outstanding Senior Overall

First off congratulations for these two awards, definitely something to be proud of. You were also awarded previously with the Sophomore Excellence Award which recognized your leadership and outstanding academic performance. 


How does it feel to be honored again for your dedication and success?


I appreciate that the department and college offer these awards to celebrate students and remind us to strive for success. Being honored again feels undeserved and surprising but encouraging!


Throughout your academic journey, have there been any professors or mentors who you have looked up to, that might have inspired you to reach your true potential?


Yes. Studying with accomplished professors and with hardworking peers is almost intimidating, but ultimately inspiring, because everyone is so supportive. For example, my fundamentals of engineering professor, Dr. Ashish Borgaonkar, inspires me and presented many of the opportunities I got involved in. Without his class, I might still major in general engineering. Something he said along the lines of “even if you don’t finish a research program, a semester of research won’t hurt you” lowered my inhibitions and sparked my ambition. Much of the civil engineering department also immensely supports the concrete canoe team and Professor (Matthew) Adams especially helped foster my interest in concrete. It is hard to mention everyone, but undoubtedly my college career would have been duller without the community.



So, I’ve learned that you are the Captain of the NJIT Concrete Canoe team and made a commendable third-place finish in the Metropolitan Region, which is an achievement in itself! Can you tell me what if anything you and the team are doing differently in preparing for this year's competition to hopefully snag that first-place spot?


Last year, our canoe was unstable due to its pointed bottom and narrow shape. We reviewed other teams designs as well as typical recreational canoes and decided to revise the hull by nearly doubling its width and smoothing out the bottom. We also have been more meticulous in recording our test mixes and design process to hopefully benefit the future teams and set us up for success next year.


Being captain, is there a certain added pressure you face when building the canoe and making sure all aspects are in regulation with the rules and requirements?


With any project, there is pressure to work within the constraints. As a co-captain, I am lucky I can share the pressure with our co-captain. On the other hand, with more people there is the risk of letting details slip through the cracks. Our quality assurance procedures are still a work in progress, but this being our second time participating, it is a little easier since we are more acquainted with the competition.


It appears you enjoy staying involved within NJIT and its community. What steps do you take to manage all of your endeavors while keeping up with your academic work?


Managing my endeavors is still an ongoing personal challenge, so I don’t have a perfect answer. After feeling overwhelmed and that my quality of work was suffering, I abandoned many commitments this semester unfortunately. Some steps I wish I had taken would be recognizing my limits and scheduling time to breathe. For me, having a fixed schedule is helpful for planning. I also try to stay present and enjoy the work at hand as a break from my other work.


Is there anything you want to mention that I didn’t touch on, maybe advice to incoming scholars who may look up to you due to all of your accomplishments?


I recommend balance. It is easy to get invested in one job, internship, research, club or class. Although each is beneficial, I think trying a few is helpful to make friends and gain perspective before you graduate and lose the opportunity to explore. At the same time, don’t chase burnout. If you are struggling with where to start, I would recommend joining a club for fun. There is nothing to lose, and you can learn from your peers about the other opportunities you can try.


Is there a plan you have in mind for the next year or so to continue your academics and success in all areas?

If this semester finishes well, I plan to start applying to graduate school and job hunting. If not, I plan to graduate a semester later and try to complete a minor. For the concrete canoe team, I am eager to support the transition to new captains and prevent another gap year.

2023 First-Year Design Showcase Nominee

Every fall semester, engineering students participate in a design course related to their respective major or engineering field. The First-Year Design Showcase is a collaborative event between the Newark College of Engineering and the NJIT Learning Communities. Projects that students work on in their design courses are generally their first experience to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom. 

Saad Rehmatullah

Recently Invited into the National Science Foundation (NSF)

I-Corps Northeast Hub Regional Program

Saad Rehmatullah, a first-year student, was nominated by Adjunct Professor Frank L. Golon based on excellent performance in class to participate in the 2023 First-Year Design Showcase. Rehmatullah exhibited a confident and comfortable speaking manner during a final oral presentation of the Ras Al Khair Desalination Plant in Saudi Arabia. Some of the benefits of being a student presenter are public speaking and presentation skills development, networking with faculty and researchers, connecting with and sharing ideas across engineering fields, earning recognition for exceptional work, and being able to win awards and prizes. Rehmatullah has also been newly elected as vice principle for the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter executive board. 


As an Albert Dorman Honors Scholar, Rehmatullah is currently pursuing a degree in civil engineering and working as an undergraduate student researcher for Geomechanics for Geo-Engineering & Sustainability. He was recently invited into the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-corps Northeast Hub Regional Program, along with Assistant Professor Oladoyin Kolawole. They were awarded a $3,000 grant for customer discovery relating to their current project performing industry-advancing research on a novel method for accelerated measurement of soil conductivity critical to underground infrastructure projects, related to renewable engineering. In the I-Corps program, scientists and engineers take the first step in assessing if their research has the feasibility to become a product or service of benefit to society. Rehmatullah is extremely grateful and mentions, “In the past, most winners have been graduate students. I am happy to be one of the youngest winners.”

ACEC Educator of the Year Award

Fadi Karaa, Ph.D., MBA

Congratulations to the director of the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Critical Infrastructure Systems Graduate Program, Fadi Karaa, for being honored as this year’s ACECNJ Educator of the Year. Karaa joined NJIT in 2006 and taught courses to CEE graduate students. In 2014, he received the Newark College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award for demonstrating excellence recognized by faculty, students and alumni. His teaching philosophy and approach combining the state-of-the-art and state-of-practice in engineering have helped him achieve top marks for nearly 20 years at NJIT.


Fadi Karaa has held a number of executive, administrative and program development positions in academia, and teaches courses on strategic enterprise and critical infrastructure systems. His research is focused on decision support systems; budgeting and resource management; critical infrastructure systems sustainability, resilience and security management systems; utility infrastructure integrated models and strategies; and large-scale project management systems. As an educator, he has pioneered the development of interdisciplinary programs and courses, such as an M.S. in critical infrastructure systems and construction Management specializations within the CEE curriculum. 


His past experiences in industrial management systems consulting include serving as a vice president for Oracle Corporation, where he founded and led the Northeast Consulting group and a national data warehouse practice for the industrial sector, designing and implementing enterprise solutions for Fortune 100 companies across a number of sectors. He led the development of a strategic sourcing enterprise management and decision support system and undertook several capacity-building assignments for large corporations and international agencies. He was the keynote speaker for major events such as, the Construction Roundtable of New Jersey in 2007 and the 2nd Annual Electronic Commerce Conference in 2000. It is truly an honor to know and work closely with Dr. Karaa, and we look forward to being a part of his future endeavors.

2023 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Senior Member

Wen Zhang, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE

Wen Zhang, an associate professor, was recently named an NAI Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors. Zhang was recognized as an “academic inventor who is a rising leader in his field with success in patents, licensing, and commercialization” and for producing “technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society”. His achievements and contributions to NJIT’s innovation ecosystem have been acknowledged by NAI. He will attend the 12th NAI Annual Meeting this June in Washington, D.C., where he will be inducted into the association.

A core focus of Zhang's is water pollution, devising membranes that serve as a highly reactive barrier to destruct water pollutants on contact, providing a self-cleaning filtration system that also mitigates membrane fouling. He recently won a Thomas A. Edison Patent Award from the R&D Council of New Jersey for a novel technology that combats what's known in the industry as membrane fouling. His revolutionary technology uses microwave irradiation to catalyze reactions on the membrane surfaces, producing high-temperature hot spots and reactive radicals that rapidly degrade pollutants, kill microbes and mitigate membrane clogging. Zhang uses nanobubbles and microbubbles for a variety of purposes, including sustainable agricultural and water pollution remediation. His current research includes finding a way to develop a toothbrush capable of delivering nano bubbles to kill oral bacteria.

Studying Lab-Simulated Earthquakes to Test the Mettle of 'High-Performance' Building Materials

Matthew Bandelt, Ph.D., P.E.

Despite advances in construction design and materials, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas fault could kill a projected 1,800 people, injure an additional 50,000 and demolish 200 million square feet of commercial, public and residential buildings, according to a recent study. Even the newest, most up-to-date structures would be toppled at a rate of up to 1 in 10.

“Ten percent is not a random figure — it’s the accepted failure rate in today’s building code when weighing the economics of improving construction with the risk of such large events,” says Matthew Bandelt, associate professor of civil engineering and co-director of NJIT’s Materials and Structures Laboratory. “The risk is rising, however, as more people move into urban areas. As a result, we now have very concentrated losses when a natural disaster, in any form, hits a major metropolitan area.”

Engineers increasingly use a new class of high-performance concrete to bolster new and existing bridges against harsh conditions, but there has been little push to incorporate them in the construction of buildings. The HPFRCC materials that Bandelt and his team study have small fibers made of steel or polymers that are one-half to 1 inch in length and range in thickness from that of a human hair to the tip of a pen. When building components made with HPFRCC materials are subjected to seismic shaking, the fibers help keep the concrete together, potentially making it stronger and more able to deform or bend.

“We have component-level information, but not for an entire building, and without it, we’ll never get buy-in,” Bandelt says, adding that part of their research is to perform risk assessments to understand how rates of damage change with these new materials and to analyze cost-benefit scenarios for HPFRCC systems. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), about half of the U.S. population, not including residents of Hawaii and Alaska, are at risk of damage from earthquakes. Regions that are most vulnerable to earthquakes are largely uninsured or underinsured against them, Bandelt notes. As of now, the federal government through agencies such as FEMA covers the lion’s share of damage repairs. “There is a lot of loss in natural disasters, not just in terms of lives and revenues, but also in community,” he says. “Buildings are places people gather.”

Dena Prastos of Indigo River

Alumna Dena Prastos received a master's degree in civil engineering in 2010. She was recently featured on NJIT’s Green Energy and Climate Adaptation Panel discussing how sustainability has changed and evolved since then. She is a trailblazer in waterfront architecture. She is the founder and CEO of Indigo River, a women-owned transdisciplinary design firm focused on progressive waterfront architecture, resiliency and climate adaptation.

We're proud of the success of our alumni and we encourage you to read the most recent article she was featured in to learn more about her work.

Q&A with NJIT Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumnus Marc K. Raoul ‘10

Since 2011, NJIT alumnus Marc K. Raoul ’10, an emergency management specialist for FEMA, has traveled across the U.S. and its territories to help communities recover and rebuild following hurricanes, floods and pandemics. A veteran of Hurricanes Sandy (2012), Irma (2017) and Maria (2017), he’s been a damage assessor, a disaster recovery planner and a proposal reviewer for towns and cities in New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, New York, Missouri, California, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. He was back at NJIT in 2021 to help operate FEMA’s campus-based COVID-19 vaccination center.

What drew you to engineering?

Growing up in Haiti, I was good in math and very creative in science. I aspired to be an engineer in high school, as there was such a need for civil engineers in Haiti to build residential housing, roads and water infrastructure. Later, as a student in the U.S., I was most interested in urban planning and civil, environmental and water resources engineering, as well as in principles of management, scheduling and estimating. When I saw a FEMA advertisement for local hires to help with disaster management in the wake of Hurricane Irene, I knew that with my skill set, I could contribute.

What is your role in disaster response?

I work on recovery assistance for states, local municipalities and certain private nonprofits that provide critical services to the communities, such as hospitals and nursing homes, but not on behalf of individual property owners. I assess the damage to roadways, bridges, public buildings and parks. I write recovery proposals for federal grants that include damage descriptions and dimensions, and, in some cases, the scope of work and cost estimates. I also compile applicants’ estimates for the work they’re contracting and make sure the proposals are effective, the costs are reasonable and that they follow federal policies and procedures. I’m also sometimes the close-out specialist who makes sure that the work has been done properly and the money spent appropriately. If there are discrepancies in the projects, such as cost underruns or overruns, I work with municipalities, among other public entities, to reconcile them.

To continue reading the whole interview, click here.

Open House

Four times a year, prospective students and guests have the opportunity to come to campus for a tour and get a closer look at NJIT. They are able to attend special presentations, explore academic showcases, learn about scholarships and financial aid, tour the labs, and so much more.

Here is a short video of our CEE department at our most recent Open House this past January.

CEE Holiday Party

Our Civil and Environmental Engineering students, staff, and faculty all came together to celebrate the Holidays! We played games, won prizes, ate a ton of food and dessert, and connected with one another through networking and team building.

To view more of the fun, click here.

Career Day

Career Day gives students and alumni the chance to interact with potential employers and learn about job and internship opportunities. It brings to campus employers from different industries and provides students the chance to network with recruiters, attend workshops and panel discussions, and submit resumes to businesses. Career Day allows CEE students to explore career options, gain valuable information, and connect with potential employers and the Department of Civil and Engineering.

Adaptive Particle Swarm Optimizer Combining Hierarchical Learning with Variable Population

Huan Liu, Junqi Zhang, Meng Chu Zhou

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Read the Full Article

Advancements in in vitro models of traumatic brain injury

Michael E. Hanna, Bryan J. Pfister

Bio-Medical Engineering

Read the Full Article

A perspective on quantifying resilience: Combining community and infrastructure capitals

Firas Gerges, Rayan H. Assaad, Hani Nassif, Elie Bou-Zeid, Michel C. Boufadel

Center for Natural ResourcesCivil and Environmental Engineering

Read the Full Article

Computational prediction of blend time in a large-scale viral inactivation process for monoclonal antibodies biomanufacturing

Chadakarn Sirasitthichoke, Duc Hoang, Poonam Phalak, Piero M. Armenante, Barak I. Barnoon, Ishaan Shandil

Chemical and Materials Engineering

Read the Full Article

COVID-19: Data-Driven optimal allocation of ventilator supply under uncertainty and risk

Xuecheng Yin, Esra Büyüktahtakın, Bhumi P. Patel

Mechanical and Industrial Engr

Read the Full Article

Decentralized Robust Control of a Coupled Wind Turbine and Diesel Engine Generator System

Milad Shojaee, S. Mohsen Azizi

Engineering Technology

Read the Full Article

ePROMPTS Hosting, Maintenance & Support

·     PI: Branislav Dimitrijevic

·     Co-PI: Taha F. Marhaba

NJ Department of Transportation

Sustainable Management of Rechargeable Batteries used in Electric Vehicles in NJ

·     PI: Jay N. Meegoda

·     Co-PI: Lucia Rodriguez Freire

NJ Department of Environmental Protection

Nanobubble Water to Reduce Pollution in Pathogen Control and Disinfection in Food Processing and Equipment Cleaning

·     PI: Wen Zhang

·     Co-PI: Taha F. Marhaba

Environmental Protection Agency

Rail and Freight Services for Planning, Engineering and Inspection Services-Federal

·     PI: Dejan Besenski

·     Co-PI: Lazar Spasovic

NJ Department of Transportation

Seat Belt Usage Study

·     PI: Janice R. Daniel

State of NJ

Green Soil Washing and Decontamination with Nanobubble Water

·     PI: Wen Zhang

USGS National Center MS 270

Electrochemically Reactive Membrane System for Simultaneous Nitrate Reduction and Ammonia Recovery

·     PI: Wen Zhang

USGS National Center MS 270

Smart Salt Application using Road Water Conductivity

·     PI: William H. Pennock

·     Co-PI: Branislav Dimitrijevic

USGS National Center MS 270

Building Food Sovereignty, Sustainability and Better Health in Environmentally-Impacted Native Americans

·     PI: William H. Pennock

·     Co-PI: Mengyan Li


High-Efficient Inactivation of Airborne Viruses Using a Microwave-Enabled Air Filtration System

·     PI: Wen Zhang

New Jersey Health Foundation

The CEE Industrial Advisory Board represents a diverse cross section of civil and environmental engineering professionals including design consultants construction managers, contractors, and attorneys.

Maurice Rached, P.E. (Chair)

Maser Consulting

Ted Cassera, P.E., ‘72

Omland Engineering Associates

Anthony Castillo, P,E., '95, '02

SESI Consulting Engineers

Anthony J. DeJohn

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

Muhammad Elgammal, P.E., P.M.P, '12, '15


Jerome F. Gallagher Jr., Esq., ‘80

Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

James Giurintano, P.E., P.P.,CME, '94

Bowman Consulting

Andre Grebenstein, LEED AP '95

The Martin Group

Gareth C. Middleton, P.E, '93, '04

Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company

Áine O’Dwyer, P.E., ​'07, '08

Enovate Engineering

Chrissa D. Roessner, P.E., '02

State of New Jersey, Transportation

Kenneth Sisk

The Rinaldi Group

Joseph Stanley, P.E., '78, '85

Hatch Mott MacDonald

Wei Wang, Ph.D., '95

Urban Tech, Inc.

Editors & Contributors

Taha Marhaba

Tracey Regan

Jessica Mandela

Special Thanks

NJIT Office of Strategic Communications

NJIT Office of Alumni Relations

Contributing Faculty, Staff, Students & Alumni