Undergraduate's internship yields research presentation at national conference

By Peter Murphy

Published February 20, 2018

Undergraduate civil engineering student Ariana Fay at Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) conference in Miami, Florida

A civil engineering senior witnessed experts in the field of structural and bridge engineering discuss her research during the National Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) Conference in Miami, Florida.

“It is exciting to be able to highlight undergraduate research at a national forum, and Ariana is a great representative for our department and for UB. She showed tremendous work ethic and motivation and we are happy for her to have had this opportunity”
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

“I think it was kind of unique,” says Ariana Fay, a senior in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, “I sat in on a presentation about research my supervisor and I worked on together. Hearing some of the top innovators in the field ask questions that I could have answered, and just knowing these people were interested in something I helped develop, was rare for an undergraduate.”

The conference saw bridge engineers from national and international state departments of transportation, consultants and academics exchange ideas, and discuss research and different seismic, structural and bridge engineering methods associated with accelerated bridge construction.

The report was based on research Fay and her supervisor conducted during her internship with the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in summer 2017. During the experience, Fay worked with structural concrete in both the materials and structures labs. The research highlighted at the conference involved an innovative deck-to-girder connect using ultra high-performance concrete. Fay ran analyses on tests using digital image correlation and video-based measurements and assisted in writing the paper.

“It is exciting to be able to highlight undergraduate research at a national forum, and Ariana is a great representative for our department and for UB. She showed tremendous work ethic and motivation and we are happy for her to have had this opportunity,” says Joseph Atkinson, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

“I came into civil thinking I was going to do transportation,” Fay says, “the internship with Turner-Fairbank really showed me that structures and bridges is what I want to do. I was able to conduct my own research, contribute to other projects, and it gave me a new perspective on the field. I had a chance to see things on the front end, where in school, you look at things that have already been done.”