Two CEE grad students named NSF Fellows
Evgueni Filipov and Sofie Leon, graduate students in civil and environmental engineering (structures), have been selected to receive National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. Fellowship recipients are anticipated to become experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering.
A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, Filipov received his BS in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 2009. He is currently working with Professors James M. LaFave, Larry A. Fahnestock, Jerome F. Hajjar, and Douglas A. Foutch on a structural engineering research project funded by the Illinois Center for Transportation. He is performing computational analyses of bridges to evaluate the potential for using elastomeric bearings and other bridge components as fuses to create quasi-isolated seismic response for bridges in areas with low-probability but high-consequence earthquakes, such as southern Illinois.
In coordination with ongoing experimental work at the University of Illinois, Filipov has created computational models that capture the nonlinear behaviors exhibited by elastomeric bearings and other related fuse components. Filipov anticipates that the results from the study will allow for improved seismic design procedures for bridges, which will ultimately save economic resources while providing safe and reliable infrastructure systems. For his future PhD research, Filipov plans to study innovative approaches for seismic protection of buildings and bridges. He is planning to use advanced computational and analytical techniques to develop economical retrofitting strategies that can improve the seismic resilience of aging structures.
Leon earned her BS in civil engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, with a minor in computer science, in 2008. She works in the area of computational mechanics under her adviser, Glaucio H. Paulino. Her interdisciplinary work at Illinois has involved contributions ranging from engineering design to high-fidelity large-scale computational solutions for nonlinear structural systems to theoretical mechanics for multiscale failure and fragmentation processes.
Since the beginning of her graduate studies, Leon has worked on a project funded by the regional university transportation center NEXTRANS to create new analysis and design tools to better predict thermal cracking in asphalt pavements. Presently, she is part of an international research team involving researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro to advance the state of knowledge of nonlinear systems applied to flexible structures at different scales.
As part of her PhD research, Leon is addressing translational challenges associated with science-based mesoscale mechanics including geometry-morphology considerations of failure of complex materials. The interactions between morphologies and time scales associated with the mesoscale in a multiphysics environment create properties dependent on both fine and coarse scale behavior. Thus, she is creating a consistent multiscale paradigm to address this class of problems, and she hopes to demonstrate that her new theory will be applicable to soft biological material systems as well.
NSF Fellows receive three years of graduate support, including a $30,000 annual stipend, a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance, access to the TeraGrid Supercomputers, and a $1,000 one-time international travel allowance.
Contact/Writer: Celeste Arbogast Bragorgos, director of communications, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 217/333-6955.
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