Established in 2003, the Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna award recognizes a graduate of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering department under the age of 40 who has distinguished him or herself with outstanding service and contributions to the engineering profession and community. The nominee must have received a B.S., M.S., or Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin CAEE department and 40 years of age or younger by the application deadline. Please download a NOMINATION FORM if you would like to nominate a deserving colleague. The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2013. (The 2013 honoree will be announced in June.)
Mark Waggoner, P.E., S.E., P. Eng. is a Principal in the Research and Development Group at the Austin office of Walter P Moore. Following completion of his master’s degree at UT Austin, he was awarded a SOM Structural Engineering Traveling Fellowship to study aesthetically important structures in Europe. At Walter P Moore, he has focused on the design of long-span roof structures for stadiums and arenas, contributing to the design of ten major professional sports venues in the U.S. and internationally. He specializes in the design of kinetic structures and lightweight structural systems. Waggoner has served as President of the Austin Chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Texas and as a director on the State Board. He is active in several committees of the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE and served as co-chair for the 2009 Structures Congress in Austin. He is also actively engaged in research to develop new design techniques to mitigate disproportionate collapse. Throughout his career, he has maintained close ties with the department. He frequently works with structural engineering graduate students and is a regular contributor to experimental and analytical studies at Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory. He also served on the department’s External Advisory Committee.
Michael Brack, P. E., serves as President of Datum Engineers, a structural engineering firm founded in 1937 with offices in Dallas and Austin. He joined the company after graduating from UT in 1996, and became a Principal in 2004. During his time at Datum, he has been responsible for a wide variety of projects spanning higher education, laboratory, healthcare, commercial, government, K-12, and residential. He was an early proponent of BIM and began implementing its use in 2006 with the $125M Experimental Science Building project for the University of Texas at Austin. Brack has served as President of the Austin Chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Texas and as a director on the State Board. He also served as the President of the Austin Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. He is a past member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Real Estate Council of Austin.
Andrea joined the faculty at Penn State University in 1999 immediately after graduating from UT. In the fall of 2008, she moved to the University of Minnesota Duluth to start a new program in Civil Engineering as the founding Department Head. In its first two years, this successful program has attracted more than double the number of students expected as well as exceptional faculty and staff. Andrea’s research in durability of post-tensioned bridges has been implemented into several US codes and guide specifications. Andrea is also the author of a book on concrete sustainability that sold out shortly after release and is now in its second printing. She is currently on the American Concrete Institute (ACI) board of directors and was honored with the young member award for professional achievement. She was also named outstanding educator by the Post-Tensioning Institute and has won the American Segmental Bridge Institute leadership award.
Susana Hildebrand is the Chief Engineer for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where she assesses environmental conditions and risks as well as implements programs that protect and restore air and water quality. She currently oversees a budget of $243 million and supervises over 300 staff, including engineers, toxicologists, and scientists. She previously served as Director of Air Quality for TCEQ and was instrumental in the development of a first-of-its-kind cap and trade program for highly reactive volatile organic compounds in Houston, which is the cornerstone of Texas' plan to improve air quality in Houston. She also oversaw state-of-the-art photochemical modeling that has made Texas a nationally recognized leader in the science of air quality improvement. Susana also gives back to her community by serving as the Chair of the Governing Council for NYOS, a K-12 public charter school whose mission is to build leaders to serve and succeed in a global society.
Valerie Briggs is the Policy Program Manager for USDOT's Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) Research Program. The VII program is a cooperative effort among the U.S. Department of Transportation, state governments, the automotive industry, and others to develop and test an information infrastructure that uses advanced communications technologies to exchange real-time information both between the roadside and vehicles and among vehicles to improve safety and mobility. She has also consulted and conducted research in the areas of traffic operations, intelligent transportation systems, telecommunications, and transportation security. Briggs also believes in supporting her community and those in need. She teaches adult English-as-a-Second-Language and has fundraised for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the National Capitol Area in Washington, D.C. Since 2003, she also organized and ran a start-up non-profit organization that funds art education for disadvantaged youth in Africa and the U.S.
After graduating from UT Austin, Melissa Moran joined the firm of Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., where she quickly became responsible for a host of complex drinking water projects, ranging from cutting edge ultraviolet disinfection applications to construction management of two drinking water reservoirs for a water treatment facility in San Diego, California. Moran also remained actively engaged in research activity as a project leader and manager for research funded by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Additionally, she has been heavily involved in the Society of Women Engineers, serving as President of the Central Indiana Chapter and helping to establish a college scholarship fund for women. In 2000, her technical skills and extraordinary leadership were recognized by Malcolm Pirnie, earning her an internal company award given to one of more than 1,400 technical staff who make “a significant contribution to safe-guarding human health and welfare/sustainability of the environment, or who has demonstrated excellence in pursuit of these goals." Moran, her husband Dan (MSCE 1992), and their two daughters are currently in San Marcos, Guatemala, where she is helping underprivileged communities develop alternative water supplies in the Rio Naranjo Watershed, which sustains more than 70 communities and some 340,000 people.
After completing his B.S. in Civil Engineering at Tulane University, Robert Frosch entered the structural engineering graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin, where his performance was exceptional. In 1994-95, during his studies, he received the highly-competitive NEHRP Graduate Fellowship from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Shortly after graduation, he accepted a position at Purdue University, where he has received recognition for both his teaching and research. The American Concrete Institute has also recognized him by giving him the young member award for professional achievement and naming him a fellow. His work has been used in the formation of changes in the ACI Building Code. In addition, he has conducted pioneering work related to the use of alternate structural reinforcement such as glass and carbon fibers.
After graduating with highest honors from UT-Austin, Jeremy Semrau went on to complete his master’s and Ph.D. degrees at the California Institute of Technology. The bulk of Semrau’s work had been to apply fundamental, cutting-edge molecular biology techniques to environmental engineering applications, such as environmental remediation and the understanding of the bio-availability of metals. He is currently an award-winning Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor at the University of Michigan and also has a joint appointment in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, to help develop its program on sustainability.
Heidi Ross is the majority owner and principal of WHM Transportation Engineering Consultants, Inc., in Austin, which finds answers to transportation, traffic, and parking problems in the public and private sectors. Projects include network simulation models, traffic signal design, parking studies, traffic control plans, and traffic impact analysis studies. Ross has also served as a Travis County Commissioners Court appointed member of the Bond Citizen’s Advisory Committee, and she is a consultant in the redevelopment of the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. There are few women in her field, and Heidi hopes to serve as a mentor to others.
Dr. Miller-Hooks received her Ph.D. in Transportation and currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the A.J. Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. After graduating from UT, she was an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State University. While at Penn State, she received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development grant to develop the conceptual framework and algorithmic steps for real-time location and routing decisions for urban operations, which helped improve ambulance, fire, and police responses.