Monthly Archives: April 2015

UW Concrete Canoe Team wins regional conference

For the third consecutive year, the UW Concrete Canoe Team won the 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Northwest Regional Conference and qualifies for the National Concrete Canoe Competition in June. The team paddled their canoe, the Ska’anna, to first place in all of the race categories at the competition in Pocatello, Idaho.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the team, however. Testing in Lake Washington prior to the regional competition revealed critical structural and flotation failures, and emergency repairs began. Repairs were completed in four days and the project remained on schedule

“The emergency repairs was an amazing learning opportunity and the engineering and teamwork involved to pull it all off was incredible,” said team captain Nigel Lyons in true Husky spirit.

University of Washington Concrete Canoe Team

The Ska’ana, weighing in at 178 pounds, features a hull designed with a narrow, asymmetric geometry for speed and a moderate, balanced rocker for turning and control.

The National Competition will take place June 20 – 22 in Clemson, South Carolina. Go Huskies!

Pacific NW Regional Conference Results

Design Paper: 1st
Oral Presentation: 2nd
Final Product: 1st
Women’s Endurance:1st
Men’s Endurance: 1st
Women’s Sprints: 1st
Men’s Sprints: 1st
Co-ed: 1st

WaterWorks offers students and teachers unique opportunity in water sciences

This summer, high school students and teachers will experience cutting-edge research and hands-on learning in water sciences.  WaterWorks, led by Civil and Environmental Engineering assistant professor Michael Dodd, is an innovative series of two free workshops – one for teachers, and one for students – that introduces participants to environmental engineering, water quality and water science. Combining interactive labs, classroom instruction, and field trips linking instruction to engineering practice, WaterWorks provides a fun and learning-filled environment that sparks interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Students enjoy a packed week of activities WaterWorks_fieldtrip1with two days of hands-on labs, presentations from department faculty, and three field trips, including tours of Seattle’s water supply and several drinking water and wastewater treatment plants.

“We are aiming to provide students with a hands-on introduction to fundamental principles in environmental engineering and science,” said Dodd. “We’ve set up the workshops to show them in a fun way how we apply these principles every day to provide clean, safe water, so hopefully we can get them excited about being engineers or scientists in their own right.”

In the teacher workshop, the main objective is to equip teachers with knowledge in water quality, science, and engineering, allowing them to teach STEM principles in an applied context.

“The teacher workshop is designed to provide teachers with a primer on various aspects of watershed protection and water treatment, and to help equip them to teach their students about environmental engineering and science by using practical examples in water supply and treatment,” explained Dodd.

Teachers receive lab demonstrations, a field trip to a regional drinking water plant, instructional lectures, a workshop on development of guided inquiry learning activities and labs, and assistance in developing instructional units on environmental engineering and science topics for use in their classes.

WaterWorks represents a unique opportunity for high school students and teachers to learn about environmental engineering through extensive interactions with faculty, students, and practicing engineers at the UW and regional utilities. “WaterWorks gives participants direct and hands-on exposure to important examples of what we do as environmental engineers,” said Dodd. “This is such an exciting field, and presents so many possibilities for rewarding careers. We’re hoping to convey that excitement to our participants, and to get students thinking about the possibility of becoming environmental engineers themselves.”

For more information and to apply for the student or teacher workshop, visit the WaterWorks site.

New Faculty Spotlight: Meet Mari Winkler

Mari Winkler joined the CEE department as assistant professor in environmental engineering this April. Settling in to her new city of Seattle, Winkler most recently hails from Belgium where she worked in the Biosystems Engineering Department at Ghent University with the prestigious Marie Curie post-doctoral fellowship.

Originally from Germany, Winkler’s scientific career has brought her around the world. She studied at the University Duisburg Essen, University of British Columbia, Columbia University, and the University of New South Wales, and received her PhD in Environmental Biotechnology at Delft University of Technology. After her PhD, Winkler went into industry, working with engineering companies to build and construct wastewater treatment plants, upgrading plants and finding new technologies to make treatment processes better.

Mari WinklerCEE and the Seattle area felt like a natural fit for Winkler. “I felt very comfortable coming here. When I came here, the people were so nice, and the students were very happy, and they are a very good indicator if the environment is really good.” Her partner of eleven years, a software engineer, also finds Seattle a great location for his career and their shared love of surfing.

Winkler brings a strong background of process engineering, microbiology, resource recovery and innovative wastewater and sludge treatment. Her research will include enhanced nitrogen removal processes, such as the new Anammox technology, which, according to Winkler, is “saving a lot of costs in treatment plants and footprint, and it’s environmentally friendly.”

Winkler will also focus on aerobic granular sludge. While implemented full-scale in Europe, the technology has yet to be executed in the United States. Wastewater treatment plants “consume a lot of space, and this technology narrows it down to 25% of what it was before,” explains Winkler. “It consumes less energy due to its compact structure, about 25%, and saves 35% of the costs for construction because it’s more compact.” Her research will additionally extend to phosphorus removal and recovery, biosolid treatment, such as end-of-pipe wastewater treatment, and microbial ecology.

In her free time, she enjoys music, running, and capoeira. But for Winkler, having fun and engaging in research are one and the same. “Part of my hobby is research; I’m very passionate about my research and I love to see young people doing research and supporting them.”

Watch Mari Winkler’s Tedx Talk, “How can we benefit from human waste?”, on resource recovery.