Summer 2022 Newsletter
A Message from the Chair
Dear Civil and Environmental Engineering Community,

At NJIT's commencement in May, we proudly graduated 193 CEE undergraduate and 116 CEE graduate students.

This summer the department welcomed six early college preparatory programs from NJIT's Center for Pre-College Programs to our laboratories in Colton Hall. The students in the program were introduced to engineering concepts and their application to everyday life.

I am pleased to welcome Dr. Oladoyin Kolawole as an assistant professor in CEE who will start this Fall 2022 semester. Dr. Kolawole came to us from Hope College, where he was a Faculty Fellow teaching fluid mechanics and geotechnical engineering and researching the failure process in rocks. He earned his Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Texas Tech University. Dr. Kolawole's main research interests include rock mechanics, energy engineering and biotechnology to address problems related to geomaterials, sustainability, energy and the environment.

I invite you to read over some of our recent news through this Summer 2022 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
Newsletter Contents
  • In The News
  • Department Highlights
  • Department Research
  • Student Highlights
  • Alumni Highlights
  • Faculty Highlights
  • Recent Publications
  • Recent Grant Awards
  • Our Advisory Board
  • Newsletter Credits
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In the News
NJIT Ranked No. 10 Nationally in Money's 'Best College...

New Jersey Institute of Technology is a top 10 Best College for Engineering Majors in the U.S., according to Money. The universities in the top 10, which also include MIT, Princeton University and Georgia Institute of Technology, emerged from...

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Molly Saylor Named 2022 NCAA Woman Of The Year Nominee

Civil engineering student and women's soccer rising redshirt senior goalkeeper Molly Saylor has been named a nominee for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award, the national office announced...

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Department Highlights
Commencement 2022 

At NJIT's commencement in May, we proudly graduated 193 CEE undergraduate and 116 CEE graduate students.

NJIT reported that 3,123 students earned bachelor’s and graduate degrees at the university’s 106th commencement, held on May 17 at the Prudential Center in Newark. Among them were 22 students who earned the President’s Medal for Academic Excellence, which honors those with perfect 4.0 GPAs. Family, friends, faculty and administrators saluted the graduates during a ceremony that included a keynote speech by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson, performances by the Newark Boys Chorus, the awarding of three honorary degrees, video congratulations from U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and awards for top marks and exemplary doctoral work.

Early College Preparatory Programs Take on Engineering!
The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering welcomed six pre-college preparatory programs to our laboratories in Colton Hall. The students in the program learned about engineering concepts and the responsibility we each have to ensure a clean and safe environment for future generations.

According to NJIT's Center for Pre-College Programs, the summer curriculum is designed for high-achieving post-fourth to post-eleventh grade students. The programs encourage and prepare students to succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through classroom discussions, hands-on laboratory experimentation, computer activities and field trips.

Early College Preparatory Programs at Colton Hall:
  • FEMME4 & ESEP: The Environmental Science and Engineering Program (FEMME4 & ESEP) is a four-week program designed to provide post-fourth-grade students with an introduction to environmental science and engineering. Students created lava lamps, built solar ovens and dissected owl pellets.
  • FEMME5 & AEP: The Aeronautical Engineering Program (FEMME5 & AEP) is a four-week program designed to provide post-fifth-grade students with an introduction to aeronautical engineering. Students designed and tested paper airplanes, built and launched rockets, constructed hot air balloons and designed an airplane and boomerangs.
  • FEMME6 & PrEP: The Pre-Engineering Program (PrEP) is a four-week program designed to provide academically talented post-fifth-grade students with an introduction to mechanical engineering. This group designed and built model roller coasters, towers, bridges and race cars.

The BS/MS Program

The BS/MS Program allows undergraduate students to earn credits towards their NJIT online master’s degree.

Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher can take up to 6 graduate-level credits, and students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher can take up to 9 graduate-level credits.

Undergraduate students can also take graduate courses as an undergraduate outside of the BS/MS program.

Learn more about these opportunities at
FE Exam Review

The department provides a FE Civil Engineering review course for free to current BSCE juniors and seniors, as well as BSCE alumni who are within one year of their graduation date.

This service is currently provided in contract with the School of PE. The goal is to provide our students with an opportunity to be well prepared for passing the FE exam.

Learn more about this initiative at
Department Research
Design and Fabrication of Recycled Glass Composite Construction Materials and Products
The New Jersey Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Program estimates that municipalities generate approximately 10M tons of solid waste per year of which 0.5M tons is glass. In the United States, only 25% of glass waste is recycled even though manufacturing new glass products utilizing recycled glass requires 20% less energy and creates 20% less air pollution than glass produced from virgin materials. The lack of color separation in the U.S. prevents the use of recycled glass in a broader range of products, since glass retains its color during the recycling process. Hence, the remaining 75% of all collected glass through recycling initiatives is sent to landfills. Recognizing this shortcoming, NJDEP put out an RFP on the development of new and innovative end products from recycled mixed-color glass. In response, an NJIT research team consisting of two faculty members from CEE and two from the Hiller College of Architecture and Design is proposing to explore the production of glass composite construction material technologies and building products using mixed-color glass waste. The proposed composite technologies will combine glass waste with other recyclable materials and/or industrial byproducts.

For this two-year research, the project team is proposing to design, fabricate and test construction materials and products such as facade-cladding materials, pavers and landscaping blocks. Other materials that may be explored in the glass composite production include waste plastics and/or cementitious materials. The research involves five distinct tasks: re-processing of recycled waste; developing optimal material combinations and recipes (prototyping with multiple scenarios); testing and validation; performing a cost benefit analysis; and exploring commercialization prospects. The testing and validation stage will scrutinize strength, ductility, freeze/thaw behavior, penetration of chemicals, UV resistance, fire testing and off-gassing. The work will be completed in the Geotech Lab, MATSlab in the CEE department and in the York Center and NJIT MakerSpace facilities.
Methods and Technologies towards a Sustainable Future in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

Dr. Rayan H. Assaad is a guest editor for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) on a special issue titled "Methods and Technologies towards a Sustainable Future in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction." The issue will be published by the Journal of Sustainability (Impact Factor of 3.889 and CiteScore of 5.0), an international, cross-disciplinary, scholarly, peer-reviewed and open-access journal.

To address the underlying challenges facing sustainability, this special issue focuses on developing methods that consider available resources and the existing environment. The special issue will provide a holistic approach toward sustainability by considering every aspect of the architectural, engineering, and construction industry.

If you want to contribute to this issue, visit the main page for information on research themes and more
Join AguaClara at NJIT

Join a consortium of undergraduate researchers from NJIT, Cornell University and The Ohio State University to conduct applied research on drinking water treatment technology for the majority world.

Since 2005, AguaClara technologies have been used in over 20 drinking water plants serving clean water on tap to over 80,000 people every day. These plants are operator-friendly and predominantly gravity-powered made in Honduras, Nicaragua and India to date.

Student Highlights
Congratulations to David DaGraca and Heba Yousef,
Recipients of Moles Scholarships!
The Moles Charitable Fund provides a one-time $12,500 scholarship to academically qualified and deserving students at the colleges and universities participating in The Moles Education program. Junior-year civil engineering students are encouraged to apply for The Moles Charitable Fund scholarship in January of their junior year.

David DaGraca is a rising senior. During COVID-19, DaGraca tutored students in calculus and physics courses at The Norma J. Clayton Tutoring Center at NJIT. He interns at Jacobs Engineering Group, predominant in design that specializes in engineering, technical, professional and construction services. His responsibilities include calculating quantities, reviewing shop drawings and editing project plans. His career goal is to work in structural engineering on heavy construction projects such as bridges and roads. DaGraca said "I was fortunate to have Professor Ciancia in spring of 2022 for Soil Mechanics. He was very helpful and caring towards his students and was kind enough to recommend me for the Moles Scholarship. I would like to thank Professor Ciancia for nominating me and The Moles Charitable Fund for making this scholarship possible for students like myself."

Heba Yousef is a rising senior interested in project management and construction. She is the vice president of the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter. In this role, she communicates with civil engineers and professionals to organize events for students majoring in civil engineering. This summer, she is an estimating Intern at Sordoni Construction. Yousef works alongside the pre-construction team and performs take-offs, communicates with subcontractors, and reads plans and bid proposals. Also, she estimates budgets for projects. Yousef said "interning at Sordoni Construction has increased my interest in construction and project management. I plan to further explore my options in the civil engineering field and continue to gain exposure and knowledge!"
Samuel Solomon Recipient of 2022 Undergraduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry
The 2022 American Chemical Society (ACS) Undergraduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry is given by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry to recognize outstanding students currently enrolled in a college or university curriculum in chemistry, environmental engineering, environmental science or other program emphasizing environmental chemistry.

This year's recipient, Samuel Solomon, is a civil engineering undergraduate student and who conducts research on sustainable polymer engineering for water treatment. Specifically, he worked with Dr. Wen Zhang to study template-assisted crystallization (TAC) for water softening. He investigated how TAC medium polymers transform calcium carbonate ions into non-reactive nanocrystal structures. This is an imperative first step to reduce water hardness. His research is supported by the Undergraduate Research Innovation (URI) Phase I and II grants.

Solomon currently works under Dr. Michel Boufadel at the Center for Natural Resources. He is involved in a project conducted at a military research facility studying oil transport and dispersion in ocean conditions to better understand and to predict how oil behaves after a spill in the ocean. He also is working with the City of Newark and the Nature Conservancy on a green carbon project to plant trees in the Newark area for carbon sequestration. Sam has demonstrated excellent research skills and strong motivation to dedicate to green chemistry and environmental engineering
and science.
Orientation Leaders Welcome New Civil Engineering Students to Colton Hall
New student orientation leaders (OLs) serve as resources during the orientation season for new students who are making the transition from their previous environment to the diverse academic, intellectual and social culture of New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

This summer, the civil and environmental engineering department was represented by two undergraduate students: Jason Lin and Cristovao Miranda.
Jason Lin is a second-year civil engineering student. He is a member of the NJIT chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and student clubs FINEST and Badminton. His career goal is to get a master's degree in structural engineering.
Cristovao Miranda is a fourth-year first-generation college student. He plans to pursue a career in structural engineering or construction.
OLs act as a liaison to academic advisors and student services for new students and serve as role models. Both students became orientation leaders to encourage newly admitted students to get involved early and to facilitate the transition to college.

Q&A with Parthiv Patel Intern at NJ Transit
What was it like to search for a summer internship during the semester?
The process is not easy, it takes hundreds of applications to have a response. But the result is satisfying. All the hours spent finding your dream job and finally getting one the feeling is really good.

Did you use any NJIT resources?
I came across this job through a Civil and Environmental Engineering newsletter, after seeing the posting there, I proceeded with the application and interview.

How was the first day on the job?
I was a bit nervous and walking into the office for the first time felt like a dream. As the
day went on, I got a chance to meet my supervisor, Joseph Borris. He then introduced me to other employees in my department.

How would you describe your job at NJ Transit?
I am a Construction Management Intern at NJ Transit. My main role is to provide support
to my supervisor, help with scheduling, pay applications, cost analysis, inspection
reports and independent cost estimates.

Are you using any skills learned at NJIT?
I have been using communication skills, team working skills and the analytical skills
taught during classes.
What surprised you the most about the job?
The most surprising thing was the number of responsibilities a construction manager carries. On my first day, I was informed that my team manages over 12 separate projects. I quickly learned how my supervisors managed these projects fluidly, which gave me insight into how to properly manage a schedule. This internship has helped me decide what I want to do in the future which is to pursue a career in site civil and renewable areas under civil engineering.

Are you involved in any student organizations? If so, how have you balanced your
social life and academics?
I am the president of NJIT Hindu Y.U.V.A. and on the executive board of the Association of
Indian Students. I try to make a schedule of my week during the weekends. This
way I stay up to date with all my weekly tasks and I can catch up with my friends or
explore my hobbies during the rest of the time.
Alumni Highlights
As CEO of Construction Management Firm, NJIT Alum Finds...

When it comes to diversity, Ken Colao leads by example. More than a third of the 90 staffers ­- 38% - at his construction management company, CNY Group, is Black, Indigenous or other people of color (BIPOC).

Read more
Congratulations Christopher M. Hanna, New President of ASCE North Jersey Branch
Christopher Hanna earned a bachelor’s degree in 2009 and continued his studies at NJIT, earning a master’s degree in civil engineering in 2014. He is a Project Manager at TYLin, as well as an adjunct professor in the CEE department teaching CE 611: Project Planning and Control.

Christopher further serves the civil engineering profession through volunteer efforts with the American Society of Civil Engineers. He currently serves as President of the North Jersey Branch of the Society's New Jersey Section. He also volunteers his time mentoring high school and college students and was a judge at the first 3D Printed Bridge Competition hosted at NJIT.

Hanna says regarding his presidency, "I hope to bring the members together for more in-person technical events and dinners, do more STEM outreach for grade school students and get more local engineers to volunteer for mentoring efforts to our area's students."

Do you have Alumni Highlights we can feature here?
Contact us at with your content and we'll include it in the next issue!
Faculty Highlights
Oladoyin Kolawole Joins as Assistant Professor
Oladoyin Kolawole joins NJIT from Hope College, where he was a faculty fellow teaching fluid mechanics and geotechnical engineering and researching the failure process in rocks. He earned his Ph.D. in petroleum engineering with a concentration in geomechanics from Texas Tech University and continued there as a postdoctoral research associate. His unique interdisciplinary research integrates rock mechanics, energy engineering and biotechnology to address problems related to geomaterials, sustainability, energy and the environment. His research interest includes rock mechanics, biogeotechnics, carbon sequestration, energy geo-resources and geo-hazard mitigation. He created the “biogeomechanics” concept, an emerging field of geotechnics the focuses on mechanical responses of microbe-rock interactions. At NJIT, he plans to focus on experimental rock mechanics, geomechanical/geotechnical modeling, biogeomechanics, geologic carbon sequestration (carbon capture and storage), energy geo-resources, geotechnical related hazard mitigation, thermal-induced deformation of rocks, the stability of rock slopes and underground openings, hydraulic fracturing and geothermal energy systems.

Dr. Kolawole is an appointed member of the Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He previously participated in the highly rated Research Experience in Carbon Sequestration program of the U.S. Department of Energy. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA). He has published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. In addition to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, he volunteers as a peer-reviewer for Nature Scientific Reports, Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering.

CEE Researchers Present
Work on Concrete System
Simulation in Vienna

In May, Dr. Matthew Bandelt delivered two presentations at the Computational Modeling of Concrete and Concrete Structures (EURO-C 2022) conference in Vienna, Austria. This work presented recent research by the Materials and Structures Laboratory (MatSLab) on the simulation of recycled aggregate concrete systems and ultra-high performance concrete in durability-related infrastructure applications. As part of the conference, Dr. Bandelt, Dr. Matthew Adams, and Ph.D. candidate Jin Fan published two papers on these topics. The work presented at EURO-C 2022 was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Center Region 2 and the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Recent Publications
Predicting corrosion in reinforced UHPC members through time-dependent multi-physics numerical simulation

Jin Fan, Seyed Masoud Shirkhorshidi, Matthew AdamsMatthew J. Bandelt

Construction and Building Materials

A Novel Bayesian Deep Learning Approach to the Downscaling of Wind Speed with Uncertainty Quantification

Firas Gerges, Michel C. Boufadel, Elie Bou-Zeid, Hani Nassif, Jason Wang

Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH

Joint Optimization of Zone Area and Headway for Demand Responsive Transit Service under Heterogeneous Environment

Lin Wang, Steven Chien, S. Chan Wirasinghe, Lina Kattan

Recent Grant Awards
Performance of fluorescence monitoring

PI: Michel Boufadel

US Department Of Interior
Interfacially Engineered Membranes for Simultaneous Microwave Catalysis and Liquid Filtration

PI: Wen Zhang

National Science Foundation
Bridge Resource Program 

PI: Matthew Bandelt 

New Jersey Department of Transportation
Our Advisory Board

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
Bowman Consulting

Anthony Castillo, P.E., '95 '02
SESI Consulting Engineers  

Tony DeJohn, P.E., P.P.
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

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

Jerome F. Gallagher, Jr., Esq. '80
Norris McLaughlin PA

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

David Good, P.E., '78, '92
Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers

Andre Grebenstein, LEED AP '95
The Martin Group

Gareth Middleton, P.E., '93 '04
Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company

Aine O'Dwyer, PE. '07,'08
Enovate Engineering

Chrissa D. Roessner, P.E., '02
State of New Jersey, Transportation

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

Ken Sisk, P.E., '95
Pizzarotti IBC
Wei Wang, P.E., '95 
Urban Tech

Scholarship Donations
Our Industrial Advisory Board has created an annual scholarship fund to assist CEE undergraduates preparing for professional licensure by reimbursing testing fees to students who pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Thank you for your generous support!
Newsletter Credits
Editors & Contributors
Tracey Regan
Taha Marhaba
Valerie Batista
Special Thanks
NJIT Office of Strategic Communications
NJIT Office of Alumni Relations
NJIT Center for Pre-College Programs
Contributing Faculty, Staff, Students, & Alumni