Brett Maurer and Morgan Sanger Receive 2023 Outstanding Paper Award

Brett Maurer Crop WebThe Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is pleased to announce that the 2023 Outstanding Paper Award has been awarded to Brett Maurer and Morgan Sanger for their paper “Why AI models for predicting soil liquefaction have been ignored, plus some that shouldn’t be,” published in Earthquake Spectra, Vol.  39, No. 3 (pp. 1883-1910). The Outstanding Paper Award recognizes authors of Earthquake Spectra papers judged to be outstanding contributions to earthquake hazard mitigation. Papers must have made a significant impact on the profession, provided a significant advance in the state-of-the-art or understanding of a particular topic, be of exceptional technical quality with concise and informative illustrations, and be well-written for a broad audience.

The award citation commends Maurer and Sanger for  ‘a sober assessment of recent uses and misuses of artificial intelligence (AI)...Given the rapid  growth of research papers utilizing artificial intelligence techniques, this guidance will be invaluable to  Earthquake Spectra in future years. AI models have great potential to advance our field, and this paper will help guide us toward producing useful work that effectively harnesses the power of these tools.”

Brett Maurer (M.EERI 2014) is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. Maurer's research focus is geotechnical earthquake engineering, where he uses methods at the intersection of data science and geotechnics to address topics that include soil liquefaction and landslides, paleoseismology, hazard-mitigation economics, in-situ and remote site characterization, and post-earthquake investigation.

Morgan SangerMaurer has received awards that include the 2016 Norman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); a National Science Foundation CAREER Award; a DesignSafe Outstanding Dataset Award; the 2021 Early Career Researcher Award from the U.S. Council on Geotechnical Education and Research; and the 2022 Arthur Casagrande Award from ASCE, in addition to recognitions for teaching and mentorship. Maurer’s graduate studies were enabled by an EERI Graduate Fellowship and highlighted by an EERI Graduate Student Paper Award.

Morgan Sanger (M.EERI 2023), P.E., is a graduate student at the University of Washington, pursuing a Ph.D. in geotechnical engineering. Her research applies the tools and techniques of data science and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) to large geospatial and geotechnical data sets for improved natural hazard modeling and risk assessment. Sanger received a B.S. in Geological Engineering, Geology & Geophysics (2017) and an M.S. in Geological Engineering (2019) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining the University of Washington, she worked as a staff geological engineer for Shannon & Wilson in Seattle, WA, performing slope stability analyses, rock mass characterization, rockfall mitigation design, and other geotechnical analyses for dams, hydroelectric facilities, and transportation infrastructure. Sanger currently serves as the University Outreach Coordinator for the EERI Student Leadership Committee and as the EERI Student Chapter President at the University of Washington.

For more information about the Outstanding Paper Award, visit the EERI awards and honors page here.

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