VICKSBURG, Miss.— Engineers from four U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) districts have been selected for the 2021 session of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center University (ERDC-U). Now in its sixth year, ERDC-U pairs USACE division and district participants with relevant laboratory mentors for six-month research projects. This year’s participants were introduced to the organizations’ senior leaders March 11.
ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman welcomed and congratulated the participants on their selection for the program. “You will have the opportunity to develop great relationships that can help you the rest of your career, and we can learn about district needs from you,” he said. “I look forward to hearing about your projects at graduation in the months to come.”
Antisa Webb, ERDC-U program lead and chief of the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (ORTT), announced the four participants and their mentors in the first of eight virtual sessions scheduled throughout the six-month program. The final session will feature project presentations and a graduation ceremony Sept.13.
Eric Lam, Fort Worth District
Environmental engineer Eric Lam serves as the technical manager and contracting officer representative for multiple civil works and military environmental projects related to landfills, contaminated areas and monitoring wells. Working with mentors from the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory and Environmental Laboratory, his ERDC-U project will focus on decision-making processes in dam safety assessments.
In his letter of endorsement, Fort Worth District Commander Col. Kenneth Reed said, “I am pleased to submit the nomination of Mr. Eric Lam, as a superior candidate. He has distinguished himself as a proactive, highly dependable, engaged, provider of high-quality work, which has led to his technical expertise being highly sought out. His high level of accomplishment is further emphasized by his drive to seek professional development exemplified by the publication of his technical article on isotopic geochemical analysis research.”
Dana Moses, Huntington District
In his current role, lead hydraulic engineer Dana Moses is involved with various aspects of dam safety risk assessments, dam safety modification studies, analysis of extreme floods and design of hydraulic structures. Moses is a professional engineer, professional hydrologist, diplomate of water resources engineering and a project management professional. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in civil engineering at Colorado State University. He is also currently working on guidance and tools within the dam safety program and hydrology, hydraulics, and coastal community of practices related to this subject. His ERDC-U topic of interest involves both hydraulics and geotechnics through the oversight of Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory mentor Jeremy Sharp.
As Moses’ supervisor, Donald Whitmore, chief of the Hydrology and Hydraulics and Technical Support Division, said, “Mr. Moses is actively engaged in projects throughout the nation and is involved in international training and partnering related to the design of hydraulic structures and dam safety risk assessments. He was requested by USACE headquarters to deploy to California during the Oroville Dam spillway incident, and his academic background and job performance over the last 10-years are indicative of his abilities and commitment to excellence with the agency. He routinely receives the highest performance rating and continues to advance the agency in hydraulic engineering.”
Ceyda Polatel, Jacksonville District
Currently serving as a lead hydraulic engineer for the Hydrologic Modeling Section, Dr. Ceyda Polatel is working as a hydrologist for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan projects. She has extensive experience in numerical modeling, ecosystem restoration, groundwater-surface water interaction, hydrologic data monitoring and analysis, hydraulic structure design, operational plans, uncertainty analysis and risk assessment. She is currently working on a collaborative project for the improvement of available USACE hydrologic modeling tools that can be applied to areas with strong groundwater-surface water interaction.
In her letter of intent, Polatel said, “We are hoping that my participation in the ERDC-U program will enhance the technology and knowledge transfer between the Jacksonville District and ERDC. It is anticipated that the interactive nature of the program will assist in communicating and addressing the technical needs of the Jacksonville District through best available understanding of the physical processes by employing the most efficient numerical methods offered by ERDC. Dr. Chuck Downer with the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory is the ERDC representative in the ongoing modeling improvement effort. He is strongly supporting my application for the program and willing to act as a mentor throughout my participation.”
Cory Tabbert, St. Louis District
As a hydrologic engineer, Cory Tabbert works with both numerical and physical hydraulic models to aid in either dredging reduction costs, ecosystem restoration on the Mississippi River or designing life safety projects. With his technical experience, Tabbert aided in the creation of a highly dynamic automatic identification system (AIS) network for the St. Louis District. He has also become a vital asset to the AIS community after co-authoring a report on AIS findings in the St. Louis Harbor. His ERDC-U project will
assist in developing advanced hydraulic engineering skills that he will be able to leverage for future engineering analyses. He will be working with the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory’s Riverine and Estuaries Branch mentor Gaurav Savant.
In his endorsement letter, St. Louis District Command Col. Kevin R. Golinghorst said, “Mr. Tabbert is an exceptional hydraulic engineer that thrives when challenged. I not only think this opportunity would be invaluable for his career, but also bring benefit to the district by having highly trained employees capable of solving the most challenging engineering problems.”
ERDC University 2022 Session
Applications will open later this year for the 2022 ERDC-U session. The program is co-sponsored by the ORTT’s Technology, Knowledge and Outreach Division and the ERDC’s Human Resources Directorate. For more information on ERDC-U, contact ERDC.University@usace.army.mil.