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Infrastructure Technology Institute

Undergraduate Student Contributes to ITI Research


Civil Engineering senior Jeff Meissner presents a poster on his ITI-sponsored research at the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Symposium in May, 2009.

During his sophomore year, Jeff Meissner, a Civil Engineering senior from Rochester, Michigan, started working on ITI-sponsored research with Prof. Charles Dowding. Jeff met Dowding through Northwestern’s Engineering Design and Communication program in which freshmen work on real design projects to give them an early experience with engineering.

Jeff’s initial efforts with ITI research included assembling Prof. Dowding’s blast vibration literature into a searchable electronic library. After gaining familiarity with the literature, Jeff began to take an active role in analysis of data from ITI’s monitoring sites. He analyzed vibration and settlement data from a structure near a limestone quarry in North Carolina and co-authored a paper describing the results for presentation to the annual meeting of the International Society of Explosives Engineers in February 2009. Jeff also presented a poster on his work at the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Symposium in May 2009.

Currently, Jeff is analyzing the response of a structure in south Florida to wind gusts, thunder, and ground vibration from blasting. This summer, he will work full-time for ITI, continuing to study the dynamic response of structures to events such as blasting, heavy construction activity, wind gusts, and thunder. The summer will present ample opportunities for field work – both directly related to Jeff’s research as well as to other ITI projects involving instrumentation of civil infrastructure.

Jeff reports that research and coursework complement each other well, saying, “It’s fun to take concepts learned in the classroom and apply them to new and different situations.”

In addition to his coursework and research, Jeff is involved with the Northwestern student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is president of Northwestern’s club baseball team. Following graduation, he plans to pursue graduate study in structural engineering.

ITI regularly employs undergraduate engineers in its research projects to enhance their education and to draw more young professionals into
infrastructure engineering.