GAANN Ph.D. fellowships in infrastructure resilience

Students in the Earthquake Engineering Lab auditorium
An empty shake table in the Earthquake Engineering Lab
Two graduate students in front of a large curved bridge with trucks on it in the Large Scale Structures Lab

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering welcomes its first cohort of GAANN PhD Fellows to the Department. GAANN, which stands for Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, is a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The GAANN program hosted by UNR will support fellowships related to the general theme: Rebuilding the Nation’s Infrastructure for Resilience to Extreme Events. GAANN Fellows will receive a need-based stipend of up to $34,000 per year, and tuition and fees are covered by the Fellowship. The Department has a small number of additional Fellowships available and welcomes applications for Spring 2021 or Fall 2021.

The objective of our GAAAN program is to provide Fellows with an enhanced graduate school experience that grants student autonomy, develops strong peer networks, and better prepares them for careers in academia. In addition to the usual degree requirements Ph.D. in civil & environmental engineering, GAANN Fellows educational program will include the following additional elements.

  • Fellows will develop a degree progression plan within the first year. Progress will be evaluated and the plan revised periodically. This approach encourages appropriate goal setting and self-accountability. Fellows will be encouraged to select a paper-based dissertation format.
  • Supervised teaching experience: Fellows will be required to enroll in ENGR 720: Teaching Undergraduate Engineering and Science, and ENGR 721: Teaching Practicum (new course to be piloted in Spring 2021). After receiving this education, they will have the opportunity to co-teach with a faculty mentor as Co-Instructor of Record for 2 semesters. It is expected that the Fellow teach 10-20% of the classes, with continuous assessment and improvement throughout the semester.
  • Fellows will be paired with a non-research mentor for advice on issues they may not feel comfortable bringing up to their mentor.
  • Fellows will participate in professional development activities tailored to meet their needs. One example is the University's Graduate School professional development workshop series. Fellows may also consider a variety of other opportunities, such as discipline specific conferences and workshops, external teaching workshops and training workshops offered by sites under the umbrella of the National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure
  • Fellows will enroll in two semesters of CEE 750: Graduate Seminar to learn more about the research conducted by their peers and develop strong peer networks within the department.

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is one of the strongest on campus, with intensive research programs in several sub-discipline areas. Fellows may choose from faculty advisors working in five different program areas that cross inter-disciplinary lines:

  • The earthquake and structural engineering program  is a large group long known for its experimental capabilities, and with emerging thrusts in simulation and intelligent infrastructure.
  • The environmental engineering program features an array of laboratories for research in water reuse, environmental biology and chemistry, and hosts the Nevada Water Innovation Institute to support the economic development needs of the region.
  • Geotechnical engineering is a multi-disciplinary program that interacts with other programs on hazard-related topics such as seismic wave propagation, dynamic response of deep foundations and retaining structures, soil-structure interaction, vehicle-pavement interaction, and soil liquefaction.
  • The pavement engineering and science program hosts the Western Regional Superpave Center, and is one of few select programs focused on mixtures and processes that improve the sustainability and durability of pavements.
  • The transportation engineering program is one of the premier programs focused on connected and autonomous transportation infrastructure.

GAANN Fellows are encouraged to explore creative ideas for collaborating with, leveraging, and adding to ongoing experimental projects conducted in the labs.