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 – https://hazards.uw.edu/geology/m9/), 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 https://www.eeri.org/about-eeri/honors-awards/graduate-fellowship/