2019 REU Cohort at the NHERI UC San Diego Facility

Published on June 28, 2019


This summer, the NHERI@UC San Diego Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table facility is privileged to host five students as part of the NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. The REU students participate in a 10-week research internship exposing them to cutting edge research in earthquake engineering. Working alongside professors and graduate students, the REU students investigate small, independent research projects that support the ultimate learning objectives of a very large-scale experimental program. They will present their research outcomes to the national cohort of NHERI REU students on August 1-2 at UT Austin.

Lelli Van Den Einde, director of Education and Community Outreach at the NHERI@UC San Diego facility, is excited about this year’s cohort. "The REU program provides students with a unique opportunity to see large-scale experimental research in earthquake engineering research first-hand,” Ven Den Einde says. “Our cohorts over the years have all continued on to graduate school and have made an impact in our profession. I have no doubt that this year's cohort will do the same.”

This year's UC San Diego cohort from left: Peter Davis, Pricilla Araujo, Alissa Gonzalez, Alvin Zhou, and Grace Mauberret


Peter Davis: Peter is currently in his fourth year at Stony Brook University with a major in civil engineering and a minor in mechanical engineering. He plans to work toward a Ph.D. with the goal of developing a career in private research. His areas of interest include earthquake engineering, fracture mechanics and mechanics of materials. Peter is currently working on the “Seismic Performance of Collectors in Steel Building Structures” project and is primary focus will be the development of a SAP2000 model for comparison with experimental data collected during testing at the Englekirk Center's Large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table.

Priscilla Araujo: Priscilla Araujo is a third-year student majoring in Civil Engineering at UC Davis and expects to graduate in June 2021. After graduating, Priscilla is interested in going into industry for some initial work experience and then applying to graduate school. Her main interest is in the area of earthquake engineering, and she would like to use her degree to improve the infrastructure of underrepresented communities. Priscilla hopes to become an inspiration to other women in engineering fields and first-generation students. Her research topic involves setting up a Data Acquisition System and using a force balance accelerometer to record vibrations. The purpose of the DAQ system is to help with vibration monitoring and modal identification.

Alissa Gonzalez: Alissa is a fourth-year student at UC San Diego majoring in Structural Engineering with a civil focus. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2020. After graduating, Alissa is interested in pursuing a master’s degree in earthquake engineering and would like to get involved in structural design. For the REU program, Alissa will be working on pseudo-dynamic testing of steel moment frames in the Powell Laboratories. They will be first measuring residual stress in rolled steel sections and will eventually test a two-sided moment frame connection. Alissa will help with instrumentation and documentation of the tests and perform non-linear FEA showing using Abaqus to demonstrate that the current code provisions regarding inelastic buckling are conservative.

Alvin Zhou: Alvin is currently a fourth-year structural engineering student at UC San Diego with a focus on aerospace structures and structural health monitoring. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in June 2020, Alvin plans on getting his master’s degree and possibly a PhD. His research this summer involves collecting dynamic data from white noise tests using a Rock Digitizer data acquisition system. He will conduct some simple data processing/analysis of this data, which can ultimately be used to identify the unique vibrational characteristics in a structure.

Grace Mauberret: Grace is a fourth-year civil engineering student at Louisiana State University graduating in Spring 2020. Her aspiration after graduation is to work in industry focusing on structural design. Her REU research focus this summer is to develop an SAP model of the steel experimental structure and compare the theoretical data to the experimental data as part of the “Seismic Performance of Collectors in Steel Building Structures” project.