Winter 2022 Newsletter
A Message from the Chair

Dear Civil and Environmental Engineering Community,
This past fall, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) lost an esteemed friend, Dr. Raj Khera. Raj joined the CEE faculty in 1966 as an assistant professor. He retired in 2013 and was subsequently appointed to professor emeritus in 2014. Backed by National Science Foundation (NSF), he established one of the nation's first geo-environmental engineering laboratories and CEE's soil mechanics laboratory. Raj contributed to CEE's prominence, and he will be dearly missed.

Congratulations to Matthew Bandelt, an assistant professor, on receiving an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, which will support his research on the seismic behavior and design of reinforced concrete structural systems, using highly ductile concrete materials known as high-performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCCs). Also, congratulations to Simon Shim, an adjunct professor, on being named a "Construction Idol" for this year's annual NYC Build Expo.

Congratulations to our newly appointed Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs and Academic Advisor, Stephen George. He will oversee career readiness initiatives, enrollment and recruitment events and academic support for undergraduate students.

Highlighted in this newsletter is the recent Winter Open House, a visit from students from the Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy, information on our continuing education course, and recognition for a number of student, faculty, and alumni achievements. As always, the CEE Department welcomes your support for its programs and initiatives.
Please join me in reading some of our recent highlights below.

Taha F. Marhaba, P.E., F.ASCE
(973) 596-2444
(973) 596-5790 fax
Newsletter Contents
  • In The News
  • Department Highlights
  • Student Highlights
  • Alumni Highlights
  • Faculty Highlights
  • Staff Highlights
  • Recent Publications
  • Recent Grant Awards
  • Our Advisory Board
  • Newsletter Credits
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Opportunities for Students
We collect information on various experiential opportunities for our students such as internships, co-ops and other job postings. Please contact us with any opportunities at, and thank you in advance!
In Remembrance - Dr. Raj Khera
Professor Raj Khera joined NJIT’s civil and environmental engineering department in 1966 as an assistant professor. He was later promoted to associate professor and professor in 1969 and 1980, respectively. He retired in 2013 and became professor emeritus in 2014. Professor Khera, a fellow of ASCE, had a distinguished career in the field of geotechnical engineering. He published the first textbook on geotechnology of waste management. He was co-PI on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that established one of the first geo-environmental engineering laboratories in the nation. He developed the CEE Soil Mechanics Laboratory with NSF funding, among many other achievements that contributed to the department’s stature today.  
In the News
US News and World Report Ranks NJIT Online Programs Top...

Three of NJIT's online graduate programs placed among the top 100 in this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings of American universities, and in the top three for New Jersey institutions. More colleges and universities than ever before began...

Read more
Department Highlights
Prospective Students Visit The Civil Engineering Department!
Prospective students took the opportunity to go beyond a campus tour for an up-close look at NJIT. Students joined us at one of NJIT's biggest and most comprehensive admissions events of the Winter - Open House!

The civil and environmental engineering department hosted 70 visitors and discussed academic offerings, interdisciplinary research areas, campus life and professional student societies.

Visitors met with faculty, staff, and current students to see what college life is like at NJIT.  

On March 4, nearly 30 students from Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy located in Wayne, New Jersey visited for an in-depth information session on campus with professor Rayan Assaad and academic advisor, Stephen George. The visitors experienced demonstrations in the Hydraulics Lab and the Concrete Lab. The American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter president, Nestor Garcia, gave a presentation about student involvement and enriched campus activities.

Assaad said, "Hands-on demonstration is always a rewarding way for students to explore, retain, and experiment with all aspects of their chosen field of study. I hope to see them on campus next fall!"

If you would like your high school or company to visit our department, do not hesitate to contact us at
Spring 2022 CEE Graduate Seminar Series
Each semester, the department hosts graduate student seminars online and in-person. The program features prominent guest speakers from industry and academia (see below) and spans current topics in structural, geotechnical and environmental engineering, as well as transportation. This semester, the seminars are organized by Professor Rayan H. Assaad and are held on Monday afternoons.

Topics included:
Water Supply & Wastewater
Operators Licensing Training Course
The Introduction to Water/Wastewater course is required by the state of New Jersey for water supply and wastewater treatment operators licensing exams.

CEE offers a two-part continuing education course for water and wastewater professionals seeking an operator's license starting in the summer semester and concluding through the end of the fall semester.

Registration is now available and classes begin in the Summer 2022 semester.
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
Student Highlights
Student Design Teams Are Back And Ready to Compete!

The Steel Bridge, Concrete Canoe and Timber Bridge teams have been working diligently since the fall semester to design, plan and develop their teams. The spring semester is used for fabrication, building and competing. All of this hard work will culminate at the 2022 ASCE Metropolitan Student Conference in April and serve as valuable hands-on experience in the civil engineering field. Time management, organization, teamwork and networking are just some of the skills that are developed through the involvement of students with the ASCE Student Chapter at NJIT.

Emma Abi-Atme (upper left), Heba Yousef (lower left), Nestor Garcia (center), Nora Chamesian (upper right) and Diego Cabrera (lower right).
2022 Newly Elected American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Executive Board
The current executive board members of the American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter at NJIT are President – Nestor Garcia, Vice President – Heba Yousef, Secretary – Nora Chamesian, Treasurer – Diego Cabrera, and Historian – Emma Abi-Atme. Much of the success of ASCE is due to a combination of teamwork and with the guidance of professor Stephanie Santos who is the group's faculty advisor.

The John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineers has also been instrumental in the success of our organization because of the encouragement and support that is continually available.
In March 2021, the student chapter was awarded the ASCE Distinguished Chapter Award for Region 1 by the ASCE Committee on Student Members. This award recognizes the outstanding performance of the student chapter in the previous year. The student activities were recognized by the committee by evaluating our annual report that represents the various activities organized and executed by the chapter.

The ASCE student chapter promotes networking and social events during the year to provide students the opportunity to engage, de-stress, and make industry connections. With diversity in mind, the events have included guest speakers, resume reviews, and game nights that have served to establish a community within our department and foster a positive environment for our students. The resume review specifically is a successful event, because it provides vital feedback and interview skills that will prepare our students for interviews within our industry.

The club averages 15 events on campus per semester with many being attended by 30 students and more.
Other aspects of the club include student design competitions in which teams compete with other regional civil engineering schools. In 2021, our students won first place in the Construction Institute Competition and third place in the Mead Paper Presentation during the ASCE Metropolitan Student Conference.

2022 NJIT Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Update
Engineers Without Borders at New Jersey Institute of Technology (EWB-NJIT) is a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders USA. The purpose and mission statement of EWB-NJIT is to design
and/or implement practical and technical solutions to improve the quality of life in developing communities and establish long-term relationships with local organizations and communities through a culturally sensitive technological exchange.

EWB-NJIT has hosted a multitude of events that help grow student knowledge and support current projects through a multitude of project meetings, fundraisers and guest speaking events. The current project since Fall 2018 is to provide water infrastructure to a mountainous community called Maca Grande in Ecuador. Community members water through the dry season and have to walk each day to local springs, which may be infected with bacteria. The work EWB-NJIT is conducting is critical for the community's standard of living. They are glad to announce that they completed the1st phase implementation of the project this past November. Unable to travel to Ecuador due to Covid-19, they are thankful for their partner organizations such as Life-Giving Water, Engineers In Action, along with the community, who help oversee its remote implementation.

In addition to international projects, EWB-NJIT is attempting to find projects in Newark to help provide green infrastructure. These include flood mitigation, park revitalization and community gardens. EWB-NJIT is also proud to announce it has recorded one of its best fundraising academic years to date raising $4,000 to support the Ecuador Project through a multitude of in-person and online events and through local donors. Furthermore, they group hosted guest speakers including recent alumni and Roly Acosta, CEO of JAG Companies, which is a major construction firm and is one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.

Engineers Without Borders at New Jersey Institute of Technology is composed of 16 E-Board members and 98 student members, who are interested in civil service, learning and volunteering and who come from a multitude of engineering disciplines. To learn more, contact, get involved or possibly
donate, please visit EWB-NJIT website at:
Congratulations to Hyun Kim Recipient of ITSNJ 2021 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award
Hyun Kim graduated from our civil engineering program in the fall of 2021 and started his Ph.D. studies in transportation engineering this January. Kim is a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

Kim says, "Transportation engineering is such an intriguing field of work, because not many people know about it or appreciate it, but it's ubiquitous to the modern world. Many people think of transportation engineering as just a simple roadway design or counting cars, but there's so much more to it. From optimizing traffic and signal times, designing roadways to reduce accidents, assigning speed limits, predicting traffic flow and volume, machine learning, computer vision, and so much more."

Transportation professionals function in very complex environments characterized by continual changes in technological, regulatory and legal frameworks. Transportation engineers plan, design, construct, operate and improve transportation systems and infrastructure, focusing on elevating safety, mobility and level of service associated with all modes of transportation.

Kim added, "My dream job is to become a CEO of my own company and sell a product that would be in every single car in the world."

Molly Saylor Named NJIT's Woman of the Year by NJAIAW...
This weekend, NJIT women's soccer redshirt junior goalkeeper Molly Saylor was honored by the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) as NJIT's Woman of the Year. The NJAIAW recognizes the athletic, academic, and...
Alumni Highlights
Diego de Veyga, NJIT Alumnus, Named Engineering News-Record (ENR) National Top 20 Under 40 for 2022!
Engineering News-Record (ENR) is proud to announce its 2022 National Top 20 Under 40. This is the culmination of ENR's annual Top Young Professionals program, which honors the best of the next generation of construction industry professionals across 10 regions. ENR's...
Alumna Gabrielle
Grompone PMP, E.I.T.,
Welcomes NJIT Class of 2025
NJIT returned to in-person Convocation festivities Sept. 22, welcoming more than 1,400 first-year students — the largest and most diverse incoming class in NJIT’s history — and acknowledging excellence among alumni, faculty and staff. Gabrielle Grompone ’17, ’20, a construction project engineer with J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc., provided the keynote address, sharing how she overcame her own early struggles at NJIT with the support of the university community and advising the newest Highlanders to “stay resilient.” NJIT Board of Trustees Chair Robert C. Cohen ’83, ’84, ’87 then presided over the presentation of awards and recognition of newly promoted and tenured faculty. The event, held in the Wellness and Events Center, was also livestreamed to the university community. Here, we feature some Convocation highlights.
Alumn Thileepan Rajah P.E., Joins ANS Geo Inc. as
Principal Engineer
According to ANS Geo Inc., Thileepan brings over 14 years of continuously growing civil and geotechnical engineering experience to the firm. Thileepan has worked in both public and private infrastructure, commercial buildings, deep foundation support, special inspections and the support of excavation for projects in urban environments. Thileepan will continue to deliver successful and responsive solutions as he leads ANS Geo’s growth in the Tri-State area. 

Rajah graduated from NJIT with a Bachelor of Science in 2008 and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering in 2015. Congratulations Thileepan!

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
Congratulations Assistant Professor Bandelt, Recipient of The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award!
The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award will support research on the seismic behavior and design of reinforced concrete structural systems using highly ductile concrete materials known as high-performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCCs). The research program will lead to a new understanding of how to design buildings with HPFRCCs, and quantify their impact on performance, life safety, and life-cycle costs.

Bandelt says "I am excited for the next phase of my research studying the seismic performance of structural systems with highly ductile concrete materials"
Adjunct Professor Simon Shim Named NYC Build Expo Construction Idol!
Assistant Professor Simon Shim plays a principal engineer role at Active Design Group (ADG) Engineering based in Newark, NJ. His role includes initiating business development, running projects, enhancing the firm's public profile, community engagement with the Korean War...
Staff Highlights
Stephen George, Appointed to Associate Director of Undergraduate
Programs and Academic Advisor
Congratulations to Stephen George on this accomplishment! Stephen graduated from NJIT with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2012 and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering in 2019. During his time as a student, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and was involved with the student design teams such as Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge.

Stephen has experience in construction management and environmental site remediation. In 2016, he became CEE's lab director for education and an adjunct professor.

As the associate director of undergraduate programs and academic advisor, Stephen George, will oversee career readiness initiatives, enrollment and recruitment events and academic support for undergraduate students.

Recent Publications
Administering Change Orders in Highway Projects

Muaz O. Ahmed, Rayan H. Assaad, Islam H. El-adaway, Emily Echele, Kyle Govro, and John Watson


Management of Change Orders in Infrastructure Transportation Projects

Rayan H. Assaad, Muaz O. Ahmed, Islam H. El-adaway, and Pramen P. Shrestha


Optimizing Customized Transit Service Considering Stochastic Bus Arrival Time

Qian Sun, Steven Chien, and Dawei Hu

Journal of Advanced Transportation

Short-Term Segment-Level Crash Risk Prediction Using Advanced Data Modeling with Proactive and Reactive Crash Data

Branislav Dimitrijevic, Sina Darban Khales, Roksana Asadi, Joyoung Lee

Applied Sciences

Challenges in characterization of nanoplastics in the environment

Wen Zhang, Qi Wang and Hao Chen

Frontiers of Environmental Science and Engineering

Aeration and dissolution behavior of oxygen nanobubbles in water

Shan Xue, Yihan Zhang, Taha Marhaba and Wen Zhang

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science

Computational and experimental study of an oil jet in crossflow: Coupling population balance model with multifluid large eddy simulation

Cosan Daskiran, Fangda Cui, Michel C. Boufadel, Ruixue Liu, Lin Zhao, Tamay Özgökmen, Scott Socolofsky and Kenneth Lee

Cambridge University Press

Impact of a jet orifice on the hydrodynamics and the oil droplet size distribution

Cosan Daskiran, Xinzhi Xue, Fangda Cui, Joseph Katz and Michel C. Boufadel

International Journal of Multiphase Flow

Impact of mixing and resting times on the droplet size distribution and the petroleum hydrocarbons’ concentration in diluted bitumen-based water-accommodated fractions (WAFs)

Wen Ji, Charbel Abou Khalil, Michel Boufadel, Gina Coelho, Cosan Daskiran, Brian Robinson, Thomas King, Kenneth Lee and Michal Galus


Oil droplet formation and vertical transport in the upper ocean

Ruixue Liu, Michel C. Boufadel, Lin Zhao, Tim Nedwed, Kenneth Lee, Guillaume Marcotte and Christopher Barker

Marine Pollution Bulletin

Recent Grant Awards
2021 NJIT Task Order 118: Intelligent Transportation Systems

PI:  Lazar Spasovic, I Jy Steven Chien, Joyoung Lee, Branislav Dimitrijevic, Dejan Besenski, Taha F. Marhaba

NJ Department of Transportation
PFAS Occurrence, Biotransformation, and Transport through Vegetation

PI: Mengyan Li and Lucia Rodriguez Freire

N.J. Dept. Of Environmental Protection
Seat Belt Usage Study 2022

PI: Janice Daniel

State Of NJ
ePROMPTS Hosting, Maintenance & Support

PI: Branislav Dimitrijevic and Taha F. Marhaba

NJ Dept. of Transportation
CAREER: Understanding and Quantifying System-level Seismic Performance for the Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures with Highly Ductile Concrete Materials

PI: Matthew J. Bandelt

National Science Foundation
Design and Fabrication of Recycled Glass Composite Construction Materials and Products

PI: Matthew P. Adams, Andrzej Zarzycki and Martina Decker

N.J. Department of Environmental Protection
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.
Rocco Palmieri, P.E, P.P., PLS '72, '77, (Chair)
Partner Engineering and Science

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

Maurice Rached, P.E. 
Maser Consulting 

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
Sylvana Brito
Special Thanks
NJIT Office of Strategic Communications
NJIT Office of Alumni Relations
Contributing Faculty, Staff, Students, & Alumni