Making Waves at Oregon State University

NHERI REU students learn how engineers use simulation techniques for designing resilient structures and understand tsunami and storm wave interactions with the natural and built environment

Published on June 25, 2021


This summer, three NHERI REU students are spending ten weeks as virtual and physical researchers at Oregon State University’s experimental facility at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory.

The students, all seniors majoring in civil engineering, are Alexis Lipovich from the University of Florida; Chelsea Wilhite from Portland State University; and Carter Howe from North Carolina State University.

The three will become familiar with OSU’s large wave flume and directional basin, equipment used for studying wave and tsunami damage, as well as water related hazards such as storm surge. Research engineers use the OSU lab to devise ways for protecting our built environment from water-borne natural hazards. For example, REU students are working on an SBIR NSF coastal protection project called The Emerald Tutu.

The floating yellow pods represent the floating marshes researchers are proposing as a nature-based solution to protect and recover the coast. Work at OSU includes measuring the wave attenuation produced by a matrix of 44 pods like this. Pictured above, from right, REU students working with project investigators are Chelsea Wilhite, Alexis Lipovich (waving), and Carter Howe.

The students will complete a research project that they’ll present in person at the NHERI REU Research Symposium in August 2021.

After a summer at the NHERI at OSU facility, our REU students will have a fundamental understanding of what it’s like to conduct research at a wave laboratory – and why engineers find this work so crucial for designing resilient structures.

Keep up with NHERI’s 2021 REU students on Twitter and Instagram.