Padgett in National Engineers Week spotlight

February 16, 2009

HOUSTON -- (Feb. 16, 2009) -- In a highly competitive contest coinciding with this week's National Engineers Week festivities, Rice University Assistant Professor Jamie Padgett has been chosen as one of just 14 people from industry, government and academia to represent the best and brightest new faces in the engineering profession.

Padgett joined Rice's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2007. Her research focuses both on identifying and minimizing the risks that earthquakes, hurricanes, corrosion and other hazards pose to bridges and other critical infrastructure.

Padgett is one of 14 "New Faces of Engineering" chosen by the National Engineers Week Foundation. The foundation chooses "new faces" honorees each year based on nominations from the nation's leading professional engineering societies. Nominees must be 30 or younger and working in areas that reflect the most pressing issues that engineers are trying to solve globally. The announcement of the 2009 honorees coincides with National Engineers Week, which runs through Feb. 21.

"I am thrilled that one of our faculty has been chosen to represent the future of engineering," said Sallie Keller-McNulty, dean of engineering at Rice. "In less than two years at Rice, Jamie Padgett's work has had a considerable impact on how we approach complex urban infrastructure issues. Jamie, in collaboration with our other junior faculty, is changing the face of civil engineering at Rice and beyond."

Padgett's previous research includes tests of high-tech cable systems that can be used to retrofit bridges to minimize quake damage. She was also a member of a reconnaissance team sent by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to evaluate Gulf Coast transportation systems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and she has since worked to develop new models for predicting coastal bridge reliability.

Padgett said she's honored to be selected by both ASCE and the National Engineers Week Foundation to represent her discipline, and she looks forward to using the recognition to promote the need for infrastructure risk assessment and mitigation.

"Hurricanes, earthquakes and other events present obvious threats to our nation's infrastructure, but there are questions about how we can best invest to minimize those risks," Padgett said. "Going forward, our group hopes to provide policymakers with tools that help to improve infrastructure reliability in ways that are socially, environmentally and economically conscious."

Rice University

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