Archives for September 2016

2016-2017 EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellows in Earthquake Hazard Reduction

nehrp-fellowsChristine Z. Beyzaei (M. EERI, 2014), a Ph.D. student in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and Nasser Marafi (M. EERI, 2014), a Ph.D. student in Structural Engineering from the University of Washington, have been selected as the 2016-2017 EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellows in Earthquake Hazard Reduction.

EERI awards graduate fellowships each year with support from FEMA and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. The award is given to foster the participation of capable individuals in furthering the goals and practice of earthquake hazard mitigation. The fellowships provide a stipend of $12,000 that can be used for tuition, fees, research expenses, and attendance at the 2017 EERI Annual Meeting, March 7-10, 2017, in Portland, Oregon.

Beyzaei and Marafi were selected from a group of highly qualified applicants studying civil, environmental, mechanical, structural, and geotechnical engineering, geomechanics, public policy, and sustainable design and construction at universities across the nation. A subcommittee of EERI’s Student Activities Committee, led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Associate Professor Terri R. Norton (M. EERI, 2004), reviewed the application packages and made the final selections. The committee awarded honorable mention to candidates Megan Boston (M. EERI, 2012, John Hopkins University), Trevor Carey (M. EERI, 2013, University of California, Davis) and Andrew Sen (M. EERI, 2016, University of Washington).

Christine Z. Beyzaei’s doctoral research focuses on fine-grained soil liquefaction effects, investigating observations from the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence through advanced laboratory testing and evaluation of depositional environment effects on liquefaction performance. The fellowship review committee noted her work showed great promise for improving engineering practice. Beyzaei graduated from the George Washington University in 2009 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and from University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with an M.S. in Civil Engineering. From 2010-2013 she worked as a geotechnical engineer at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers in New York City on both U.S. and international consulting projects. In addition to her academic and professional pursuits, Ms. Beyzaei was actively involved in the founding of the EERI-NYNE Regional Chapter, served as GEER Recorder from 2013-2015, and volunteered her time mentoring high school students with the ACE Mentor Program of America from 2011-2013. She is a registered civil engineer in the state of California.

Nasser Marafi is part of an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington (the M9 Project –, and is currently studying the effects of large-magnitude subduction earthquakes on structures located in deep sedimentary basins. Within the M9 Project, a suite of physics-based simulations is being developed for a wide range of possible earthquake rupture scenarios. Marafi is comparing these generated ground motions with those recorded during subduction earthquakes inside and near basins in Japan, and is evaluating the intensity of these motions in terms of spectral acceleration, ground-motion duration, spectral shape, and structural collapse risk. Working with practitioners from the Structural Engineering Association of Washington, Nasser is currently developing a framework to incorporate basin effects into the seismic design of structures. The fellowship review committee expressed interest not only in Marafi’s research topic, but also on its influence to expand research in this area.

Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, Nasser practiced structural engineering for five years and is a registered Professional Engineer in California. He is advised by professors Jeffrey Berman (M. EERI, 2000) and Marc Eberhard (M. EERI, 1990).

The Institute looks forward to highlighting Beyzaei and Marafi’s research at the EERI 2017 Annual Meeting.

To learn more about the EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellowship, visit the EERI website at

EERI-Eucentre-ReLUIS Reconnaissance Team in Italy

amatrice-towerAs part of the Learning from Earthquakes program, EERI is joining with the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (Eucentre) and Rete dei Laboratori Universitari di Ingegneria Sismica (ReLUIS) to conduct a reconnaissance trip in Italy from September 12-16, 2016. The team will study the impacts of the August 24, 2016 Amatrice earthquake.

We thank EERI members for the many responses to assist and support our mission to the region. In the tradition of EERI reconnaissance efforts, the team assembled for the Amatrice reconnaissance trip is represented by earthquake engineers from both academia and practice. This team was also designed by the LFE Executive Committee to provide opportunities for younger members participate in reconnaissance activities.

EERI delegation members are:

Silvia Mazzoni (M. EERI, 2010, and EERI Delegation Leader), Consultant and Research Engineer at UC Berkeley
Erica Fischer (M. EERI, 2010), Design Engineer, Degenkolb Engineers, Seattle
Paolo Calvi (M. EERI, 2016), Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Dick Dreyer (M. EERI, 1995), Principal, Holmes Culley, San Francisco

Guido Magenes, Professor and Head of Masonry Structures Area, Eucentre and University of Pavia, will act as the Eucentre Delegation Leader. Angelo Masi of University of Basilicata will act as ReLUIS Delegation Leader. Additional members of the team from Eucentre are Roberto Nascimbene, Andrea Penna, and Massimiliano Stucchi, while ReLUIS representatives are Enrico Spacone, Antonio Santo, Maria Polese, Marco Di Ludovico, Luigi DiSarno, Luigi Sorrentino and George Balzopoulos.

The reconnaissance mission for the EERI members will be focused on four main themes:

1. Performance of new or retrofitted structures.

2. How lessons from the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake are informing emergency response and rebuilding efforts.

3. Observation of Italian approaches for detailed and systematic data collection techniques to inform (1) EERI’s data collection approaches, (2) fragility development for the building typologies damaged by the earthquake, and (3) verification of virtual damage and loss maps from remote sensing data sources.

4. Performance of schools and their impacts on community resilience.

After its return from the field, the team will disseminate findings by producing a web-broadcasted reconnaissance briefing for the membership. More information on the Amatrice earthquake, including data and photos from the reconnaissance team as they are gathered, can be found on the LFE Amatrice Virtual Clearinghouse:

Editorial Note: The team members and delegation leaders listed in this article were corrected and updated on October 31, 2016.

Pawnee and Cushing, Oklahoma

Spectra Editor Jonathan Stewart on Impact Factor and Publication Queue Update (September 1, 2016)

I am pleased to announce that Earthquake Spectra’s Impact Factor for 2015 is 2.298, and the five-year Impact Factor is 1.932. These numbers place Spectra’s impact near the top among earthquake engineering journals. Our thanks go to the authors, Editorial Board members, and reviewers who have made this improvement possible.

I would also like to provide an update on the Publication Queue Time editorial published June 29, 2015. At that time, the maximum acceptance-to-publication time for manuscripts was 20 months. In order to reduce the backlog and publication queue time, we have published significantly larger issues for the 2015 and 2016 volumes. As a result of this effort, the queue time was reduced to 7 to 11 months for the August 2016 issue. With the November 2016 issue, the queue time will be 4 to 8 months, and we are on target to meet our goal of a 3-to-6 month queue time beginning with the February 2017 issue.