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Civil and Environmental Engineering

Padgett wins Huber Prize, (T+R)^2 Teaching Award

Jamie E. Padgett, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, has been awarded the prestigious 2017 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

ASCE awards the Huber Prize to members with notable achievements in research related to civil engineering. It is considered the highest level mid-career research prize in the field, and is awarded annually to only a few researchers across all civil engineering disciplines. The Huber Prize comes with a certificate and a cash prize, and will be presented during the ASCE’s 2017 Annual Convention to be held Oct. 8-11 in New Orleans.

In its citation, ASCE commended Padgett for her “significant contributions in advancing multi-hazard assessment of bridge infrastructure, structural risk and lifecycle assessment.” The selection committee singled out her recent ongoing work on risk assessment of industrial infrastructure.

Padgett joined the Rice faculty in 2007. She is well known for her research on infrastructure reliability in the face of natural hazards and extreme events. Recent applications of her research focus on transportation and energy infrastructure, including bridges, oil storage tanks and nuclear storage casks. 

She was the founding chair of the ASCE’s technical committee on Multiple Hazard Mitigation, and serves on several professional technical committees and councils within ASCE, the Structural Engineering Institute and the Transportation Research Board.Padgett serves on editorial boards for ASCE’s Journal of Bridge Engineering, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, and ASCE’s Journal of Structural Engineering. She also serves in leadership roles in several large national or regional research efforts, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning at Colorado State University, the NSF National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure, Cyberinfrastructure “DesignSafe-CI” (University of Texas, Austin) and the Severe Storm Prediction Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center at Rice.

In March, Padgett was co-recipient of the third annual Teaching and Research Excellence Award presented by the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice.  Last year she was awarded the 2016 International Association for Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Junior Award for “contributions to life-cycle analysis of structures."  She receives a $10,000 award, with half the sum going directly to herr and half deposited in a fund of her choice for use in “enhancing teaching and research.” The (T+R)^2 Award is given to members of the engineering faculty who demonstrate “excellence in both teaching and research,” and to encourage faculty to aspire to “excellence in the classroom and the lab.”

Jinal Mehta, who graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering from Rice in 2016, wrote of Padgett:

“Perhaps one of the most telling aspects of Dr. Padgett’s teaching style is that she succeeds in creating a highly collaborative, non-competitive atmosphere among her students that lasts for the rest of their undergraduate careers — a feat not easily accomplished in a high-performing university. Her assigned homework and projects were often best solved by working together, going to her office hours for assistance, and working together some more.”

In recommending Padgett for the award, Rob Griffin, professor and chair of CEE, wrote:

“Over the past two complete fiscal years, the research expenditures of Dr. Padgett exceed a total of $575,000 as a result of the 13 funded projects active, with Dr. Padgett as PI/co-PI during the two calendar years. She has co-authored 18 manuscripts, all published in reputable, high impact, peer-reviewed journals and predominantly first authored by her graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. As of January 2017, ten additional manuscripts were in review. She also co-authored eight papers in conference proceedings and gave five invited talks.”