Two College of Engineering graduate students have won national scholarships from the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists (AAPT).
Nicole Elias was awarded the AAPT Technical Merit Award/Ward K. Parr Scholarship for early Ph.D. candidates. Julissa Larios received the AAPT Technical Merit Award/Ward K. Parr Scholarship for Masters Level.
The women will give poster presentations on their research at the AAPT annual meeting in September in San Antonio, Texas.
“Both Nicole and Julissa had to compete nationally against grad students from across the U.S. in the field of asphalt pavement engineering,” Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Elie Hajj said. “It is outstanding to have two recipients from the same university in one year.”
Elias' Ph.D. work emphasizes implementing new specifications for Federal Aviation Association pavements. She and her fellow researchers are targeting new airfield pavements at a superior performance level, with minimal deformation for maximum safety and takeoff/landing smoothness.
“Asphalt technology is being continuously developed at a fast rate at the research level,” Elias said. “The potential of improving our asphalt roadway network, along with various recycling opportunities, intrigued me.”
Larios, who completed her master’s degree in May and will begin doctoral studies at the University this fall, also is interested in the sustainability aspect of asphalt technology.
Her work involved incorporating recycled materials — such as existing pavement and plastics — into asphalt mixes. The AAPT award is an opportunity to share her work with civil engineering peers.
“It’s encouraging to see that our work and research is being seen and recognized,” she said.