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Posted 6/8/2018

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By Gwyn G. Neill

VICKSBURG, Miss. (March 28, 2018)--As colleges and universities around the country begin celebrating their spring breaks, just the opposite happens on campus at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eleven participants representing nine districts and five divisions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arrived in early March to kick-off six months of interaction, cooperation and collaboration with the ERDC’s best and brightest engineers and scientists.

Currently in its third year, the ERDC University program is sponsored by the Directorate of Human Capital and the Office of Research and Technology Transfer. ERDC University is a professional development opportunity for district selectees to partner and collaborate with ERDC researchers on applying and implementing technical solutions to current and potential problems within their home districts. 

During his welcome and introduction, Director of Human Capital Dr. Gary Anderton addressed the participants saying, “The ORTT works very hard to match participants with ERDC researchers for real world experiences and we welcome you to our ERDC family.”

In preparing and planning for each year’s class, most of the preparation falls primarily on the ORTT which is tasked with managing the program. Under the direction of ORTT’s Chief of Technology Advancement Antisa Webb, the team works to match ERDC subject-matter experts with district selectees to partner and collaborate on applying and implementing technical solutions for use throughout USACE and, ultimately, in their home districts. 

Dr. Jack Davis, deputy director of the Environmental Laboratory, is a huge supporter of ERDC University. Several of this year’s ERDC U participants matched with EL researchers this year.

When meeting the participants during kick-off week, Davis said, “You will make contacts and meet people at ERDC who will be able to help you when you return to your home districts. This is the greatest outcome of participating in this program.”

ERDC University is open to U.S. citizens only who are full-time USACE employees. Lasting a maximum of six months, the cost is shared by ERDC and the participant’s home district. An individual with an interest and experience in general scientific and engineering fields in the business areas of civil works and water resources, environmental quality and installations, geospatial research and engineering, information technology and military engineering is the typical ERDC U student. 

This year ERDC University’s participants represent nine USACE districts and matched with research partners in multiple ERDC laboratories. The 2018 class roster is as follows:

Buffalo District

  • Greg Kiaer, civil engineer (hydraulic) matched with Dr. Norberto Nadal in the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory.
  • Melissa Tarasiewicz, biologist matched with Robert Lichvar in the Cold Regions Research Laboratory.

Huntington District

  • Andrew Keffer, geotechnical engineer matched with Chris Price in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory. 

Jacksonville District

  • Caitlin Hoch, environmental engineer matched with Dr. Brandon Boyd in the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory.
  • Danielle D’Amato, biologist matched with Dena Dickerson in the Environmental Laboratory.

Los Angeles District

  • Jennifer McAdoo, environmental coordinator matched with Dr. Billy Johnson in the Environmental Laboratory.

New England District

  • Christopher Veinotte, environmental scientist matched with Dr. Martin Page in the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory.

New Orleans District

  • Jason Collins, civil engineer (hydraulic) matched with Dr. Chris Kees in Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory and Information Technology Laboratory’s High Performance Computing.

Philadelphia District

  • Mark Eberle, biologist matched with Dr. Tosin Sekoni in the Environmental Laboratory.

Pittsburgh District

  • Michael Anderson, geologist matched with Dr. Janet Simms in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory.

Wilmington District

  • Frank Cerio, civil engineer matched with Dr. Victor Medina in the Environmental Laboratory.

For fiscal year 2019, the announcement will go out in early May with a deadline of Sept. 30. The program is looking for as many as 20 participants. It takes about a month to review applications before a recommended list is submitted to ERDC leadership for final approval and selection. It then takes one to two months to find research partners depending on the number of candidates and the research topics. The logistics and funding work follows so that the ORTT can ensure the program begins in March.  


For ERDC team members interested in more information and possibly serving as a research partner in the future, Antisa.C.Webb@usace.army.mil, 601-634-4259.