Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty and Staff

Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty and Staff
Dr. Christina Curras

Christina Curras, PhD
Professor, Department Chair and Civil Engineering Program Coordinator

141A Ottensman Hall
608.342.1544
currasc@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Curras earned her PhD and Master of Science in Civil Engineering, specializing in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, and her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California-Davis.

Dr. Curras' research and teaching interests focus on geotechnical engineering, pedagogy, and student success initiatives. She is the Principle Investigator for the NSF STEP grant, which funds the operation of CenterPOINT and provides student support through jobs, mentoring, and stipends for research and professional travel. Prior to joining UW-Platteville she worked at Woodward Clyde Consultants in Oakland, CA, and at the California Department of Water Resources.

She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the GeoInstitute, and is on the National Civil Engineering Department Head Coordinating Council.
Dr. Michael Penn

Michael Penn, PhD, PE
Professor, Environmental Engineering Program Coordinator

134 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1537
mrpenn@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Penn earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Penn's research and teaching interests focus on water quality, waste handling and minimization, and infrastructure management. He is a founding member of the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E) and lead author of the textbook Introduction to Infrastructure.

He is a registered Professional Engineer and certified soil tester in the state of Wisconsin.
Diane Hardyman

Diane Hardyman
Academic Department Associate

141 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1543
hardyman@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Diane Hardyman earned an Associate Degree in Secretarial Science from Madison College. She began working in cancer research at UW-Madison in 1982. She came to UW-Platteville in 1990 working for the ROTC program, Financial Aid Department, and finally the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department in 1993.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

James Almquist

James Almquist
Senior Lecturer / College of EMS Co-op Director

154 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1904
almquisj@uwplatt.edu

Biography

James Almquist earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 2003, he has served as an advisor for the groups that help to maintain the world's largest "M", located in Platteville, WI.
Dr. Gretchen Bohnhoff

Gretchen Bohnhoff, PhD, PE
Assistant Professor

138 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1541
bohnhoffg@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Bohnhoff earned her PhD in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Geoenvironmental Engineering from Colorado State University, and both her Master of Science in Geological Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering and Geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Bohnhoff's research focuses on the intersection of environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, and groundwater engineering. Her research has a common theme of sustainable and novel solutions to waste containment, and fate and transport of contaminants in the geoenvironment. Her current research is an investigation of the long-term behavior of polymer modified bentonite for containment barrier applications.

She is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Wisconsin. Dr. Bohnhoff is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She also serves as faculty advisor for Chi Epsilon, the Civil Engineering Honors Society.
Dr. Samir El-Omari

Samir El-Omari, PhD, PE
Associate Professor

316 Engineering Hall
Office Hours: Click Here
608.342.6170
elomaris@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. El-Omari earned his PhD in Construction Management from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany.

Currently Dr. El-Omari is an Associate Professor with the Civil and Environmental Engineering department and a member of the Sustainability and Renewable Energy Systems program. Prior to joining UW-Platteville, he held several industrial positions in construction engineering and management, starting from site engineer and ending as a project manager on building projects including hospitals, hotels, power plants, and residential and commercial buildings.

Dr. El-Omari volunteers with Engineers without Borders (EWB), and worked through them for the United Nation Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) and other works in Latin America. He also develops and leads short study abroad programs in the area of renewable energy and green building design practices in Germany and Brazil.
Dr. Kristina Fields

Kristina Fields, PhD
Professor

130 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1533
fieldskr@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Fields earned her PhD, Master of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Prior to joining UW-Platteville she worked as a civil engineer doing airport design for Gannett Fleming and as a transportation engineering and bicycle coordinator with the Street Transportation Department in Phoenix.

Dr. Fields has been collaborating on cycling infrastructure with a partner university in the Netherlands and had the opportunity to study in The Netherlands. This resulted in the creation of a short term study abroad civil engineering course. She is the faculty advisor for the Institute for Transportation Engineering UW-Platteville chapter and has been the chair of the City of Platteville Community Safe Routes Committee. She was also awarded a Federal Highway Administration Eisenhower Teaching and Research Fellowship in 2005.

She is passionate about pre-college engineering outreach and was the curriculum manager for UW-Platteville's Sky's the Limit pre-college outreach program for young women, offering hands-on STEM exposure through projects with faculty, students, and industry professionals.
 Dr. Robabeh Jazaei

Robabeh Jazaei, PhD
Lecturer

177 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1731
jazaeir@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Jazaei earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, her Master of Science in Structural Engineering from the Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, and her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Shahrood University of Technology in Iran.

Dr. Jazaei’s doctoral research focused on the experimental characterization of cementitious composites subject to impact and dynamic loads. Currently, her research interests include energy absorption, mechanical properties, finite element analysis for seismic load, and failure mechanism of concrete structures reinforced by nanomaterials, multifunctional nanoparticles and/or FRP.

Dr. Jazaei is a voting member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 241-A01 (Application and Implementation of Nano-Engineered Concrete). A member of the following organizations: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

Dr. Hanwan Jiang

Hanwan Jiang, PhD
Assistant Professor

135 Ottensman Hall
608.342.6196
jianghan@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Jiang earned her PhD in Civil Engineering from New Mexico State University, her Master of Science and her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Chang’an University in China.

Dr. Jiang’s research interests include non-destructive evaluation of concrete structures, bridge load rating and safety evaluation, bridge retrofit design and long term performance of bridges. Prior to joining UW-Platteville, she worked as an associate professor at the Research Institute of Highway, Ministry of Transport in China.

Dr. Jiang serves as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Dr. Chelsea Lancelle

Chelsea Lancelle, PhD
Lecturer

133 Ottensman Hall
608.342.6132
lancellec@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Lancelle earned her PhD in Geoscience from the University of Wisconsin, her Master of Science in Geoscience from the University of Wisconsin, and her Bachelor of Science in Geology and Mathematics from St. Norbert College.
Gerald Mahun

Gerald Mahun, PLS
Lecturer

072 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1923
mahung@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Gerald Mahun earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His primary research interest is surveying, specifically land surveying, which deals with boundary creation and re-establishment.

In addition to teaching for UW-Platteville, Mahun has taught for Purdue University, Penn State University, and Madison Area Technical College (MATC), where he also served as the program director for the Civil Engineering Technology department. Mahun has also worked for the Wisconsin DOT, National Geodetic Survey, and the Bureau of Land Management. He has presented more than thirty workshops and seminars on various aspects of surveying.

Mahun is a licensed Professional Land Surveyor for the state of Wisconsin. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Surveyors and the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors (WSLS). He has been a member and chair of committee for both organizations and served on the WSLS Board of Directors.
Fahmida Masoom

Fahmida Masoom
Senior Lecturer

315 Engineering Hall
608.342.1960
masoomf@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Fahmida Masoom earned her Master of Science in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics & Electronics from the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh. Prior to joining UW-Platteville she taught at Savannah State University in Georgia. Her research focus has been in freshman engineering and engineering graphics.
Dr. Sam Owusu-Ababio

Sam Owusu-Ababio, PhD, PE
Professor

136 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1554
owusu@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Owusu-Ababio earned his PhD and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Science & Technology in Ghana.

Dr. Owusu-Ababio's research involves highway pavement design, management, and performance issues. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Institute of Transportation Engineers, and Engineers without Borders. He currently serves on the Rigid Pavement Technical Oversight Committee of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

He is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Wisconsin.
Dr. Philip Parker

Philip Parker, PhD, PE
Professor, Associate Dean for New Initiatives

155 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1235
parkerp@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Parker earned his PhD and Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University.

Dr. Parker directs the activities of the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E), an international online community of practice and funded by the National Science Foundation. He conducts research in the area of agricultural runoff and has supervised undergraduate research assistants. Dr. Parker is also the program coordinator for the online Master of Science in Engineering program.

He is a registered Professional Engineer and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), the American Waterworks Association, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He also serves as faculty advisor for the UW-Platteville ASCE Student Chapter.
Dr. Austin Polebitski

Austin Polebitski, PhD, PE
Associate Professor

139 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1553
polebitskia@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Polebitski earned his PhD and Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Seattle University.

Dr. Polebitski's doctoral research focused on the links between urban residential water use, changing urban landscapes, and climate change. Currently his research interests include urban and rural water use, water resource systems management, the use of forecasting tools in short and long term decision making, and the impacts climate change will have on statewide natural resources. Prior to joining UW-Platteville he was a research assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and worked for King County's Solid Waste Division.

He is an active member of the Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI), the American Water Resources Association (AWRA), and the International Conference on Engineering and Ecohydrology for Fish Passage. He is a registered Professional Engineer.
Dr. Amr El Ragaby

Amr El Ragaby, PhD, PE
Assistant Professor

176 Ottensman Hall
608.342.6167
elragabya@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. El Ragaby earned his PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, and both his Master of Science in Structural Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Menoufia University in Egypt.

Dr. El Ragaby research interests include analysis, design, testing, and modeling of concrete structures reinforced and/or strengthened with FRP composite materials, Prestressed Concrete, Bridge Engineering, and non-contact damage detection using Digital Image Correlation. He authored/co-authored more than 25 Journal papers and 35 conference papers.

Dr. El Ragaby serves as a member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) technical committees for Shear and Torsion, FRP Composite Materials, Prestressed Concrete, and RC Bridges. He is a registered Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in Ontario, Canada, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) and International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure (ISHMII).
Dr. Bob Schmitt

Bob Schmitt, PhD, PE
Professor

132 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1239
schmitro@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Schmitt earned his PhD in Civil Engineering (Construction Engineering & Management) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Purdue University, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Dr. Schmitt has thirty years of construction industry practice, research, and teaching experience. Prior to joining UW-Platteville he worked for design firms, contractors, and public works agencies as a cost estimator, project manager, and materials testing engineer. He is a Fulbright Scholar through the U.S. State Department and continues teaching masters courses in construction technology for the Universidad de Piura in Peru.

His research and teaching interests focus on construction equipment, productivity improvement, cost estimating, and statistically-based sampling and analysis construction materials and performance. Dr. Schmitt is a registered Professional Engineer and member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Concrete Pavement Association, Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, and faculty advisor for the local student chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America. He has co-authored the textbooks Construction Planning, Equipment, and Methods (8th Ed., 2011) and Moving the Earth: Excavation Equipment, Methods, Safety, and Cost (7th Ed., 2018).
Dr. Namita Shrestha

Namita Shrestha, PhD, PE
Lecturer

139 Ottensman Hall
608.342.1712
shresthan@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Shrestha earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; Master of Science in Sustainable Water Sanitation Health and Development from Tribhuvan University, Institute of Engineering, Nepal; and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University, Institute of Engineering, Nepal. 
 

Dr. Shrestha’s doctoral research focused on microbial electrochemical technologies for treatment of waste and wastewater. Her research interests include bioelectrochemical systems, microbial electrochemistry, resource recovery from waste and wastewater, waste treatment and nanomaterial for bioelectrochemical application.

Dr. Shrestha serves as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP), American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Environmental & Water Resources Institute (EWRI). She is also an active member of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She is a registered Professional Engineer.

Dr. Keith Thompson

Keith Thompson, PhD
Associate Dean of Operations

228 Engineering Hall
608.342.1479
thompsmi@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Thompson earned his PhD and Master of Science in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Thompson's research and teaching interests focus on structural concrete mechanics, bridge engineering, and infrastructure management. His research also includes the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in which he worked on projects related to curriculum development, methods of learning assessment, retention initiatives, and academic and career success for underrepresented minority, female, and first generation students in STEM fields.

Prior to joining UW-Platteville he taught at Penn State University and Auburn University. Dr. Thompson is a founding member of the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education (CIT-E).
Dr. Xiaohong Wang

Xiaohong Wang, PhD
Assistant Professor

150 Ottensman Hall
608.342.7381
wangxiao@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Wang earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada, her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and her Bachelor of Science in Applied Mechanics from Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University in China.

Dr. Wang's research concerns the stability analysis and design of steel building structures including cold-formed steel accounting for any and all conventional and extreme loading that they may experience during their lifetime. Her secondary research interest is in the study of computational mechanics and mechanics of structural materials in thin-walled shell structures. Her other research interest is about Innovations in Engineering Education.
Dr. Danny Xiao

Danny Xiao, PhD, PE
Assistant Professor

137 Ottensman Hall
608.342.7249
xiaoxi@uwplatt.edu

Biography

Dr. Xiao earned his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas, Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Southwest Jiaotong University, and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Southwest Petroleum University.

Dr. Xiao's research interests include pavement materials (aggregates, concrete, and asphalt mixtures), mechanistics empirical pavement design, and infrastructure asset management. He is currently investigating the impact of different deicing and anti-icing materials on the durability of concrete pavements, a research project sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Prior to joining UW-Platteville he worked as a transportation engineer and a research associate at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center and at the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

Dr. Xiao serves as a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Flexible Pavement Design Committee and Statistical Methods Committee. He is a registered Professional Engineer and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).