blue sdsmt logo

Civil and Environmental Engineering e-News


3, 2012

In This Issue
Message from the CEE Departmet Head
ASCE student chapter updates
Student opportunities
M-Week news
Faculty updates

Find us on Facebook:

Find us on Facebook





Message from the CEE Department Head

Dr. Molly Gribb


Dear students:


I hope classes are going well - there isn't much time left now before the end of the semester.  If you haven't already visited with your advisor about classes for next semester, now would be a great time. 


Your CEE faculty

continuously review the curriculum and implement improvements to provide you with the best possible CEE education. Read on for important information about scheduling changes for 2013-2014, and for information about a transportation class for Spring 2013. 


Curriculum changes for 2013-2014: To help students better prepare for the FE exam, CEE 463 (Concepts of Professional Practice) will be offered fall semesters, starting Fall 2013, and the course will include FE preparation activities during the first half of the semester. CEE 474 (Construction Engineering and Management) will also be moving, and will be offered spring semesters starting in Spring 2014. If you are planning to graduate in Fall 2013, please check with your advisor ASAP to see if this will affect your graduation plans.



Looking for a transportation class? Anyone interested in transportation may sign up for CEE363-S01 Highway and Traffic Engineering in Spring 2013. The course is being offered by SDSU and may be taken as a distance course on the SDSM&T campus via a live video feed. You can register for the course directly on webadvisor by selecting SDSU under the university button. This course may be used as a department approved elective.

cee banner 



The CEE Industrial Advisory Board Visited in September:

The CEE department held their fall Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting in late September, which included several new alumni and corporate members. SDSM&T President Duane Hrncir welcomed board members to campus including Mr. Ray Bettmeng (CE87), Dr. Wayne Echelberger (CE56), Mr. Dan Ferber (CE82), Mr. Ron Jeitz (CE69), Ms. Susie Jorgensen (CE76), Ms. Agatha Kotsonis, Dr. Lance Roberts (CE98, 99) and Mr. Dennis Rounds (CE91); board members Mr. Mike Halde (CE98 and CEE outstanding recent alum), Mr. Mike Hansen (CE90) and Dr. Chip Kilduff were unable to attend. The IAB will focus their efforts this year on supporting the CEE department strategic priorities that include developing additional resources to support students and providing an industry perspective to enhance the curriculum. The department is grateful for such an enthusiastic and committed IAB, and also extends its gratitude to members who have rotated off the board in the past year: Rick Baruth (CE82), Dan Hanson, Joni Kachelhoffer (CE81), Jason Love (CE87, 98), Steve Schelske (CE88), and Tammy Williams (CE 82, 83).

Grubby and the CEE advisory board (l-r): Mr. Ray Bettmeng, Ms. Susie Jorgensen, Ms. Agatha Kotsonis, Mr. Dennis Rounds, Mr. Ron Jeitz, Dr. Wayne Echelberger, Dan Ferber, Dr. Lance Roberts, and Dr. Molly Gribb.

The M Turned 100 on October 5th!

M-Hill Ariel  

The American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter held a free birthday party to celebrate the 100th birthday of M-Hill on Friday, October 5. Hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled and served with soda and birthday cake for students, faculty, and community members in the March-Drake Plaza. M-Hill caps were given away and sold during the celebration. An original surveying transit was also available for people to eye the letters from campus, and was used in a demonstration of how students and staff originally planned and constructed the original M.


Students Help with Whale Restoration at Storybook Island in Rapid City: 

The ASCE student chapter finished pouring Willy the Whale on October 14th with help from the Circle K student chapter and many local donors. The group started mixing concrete for the 20-foot whale at noon and finished the task 14 hours later. Storybook Island and the Rapid City Rotary are pleased with the project's success and hope to unveil Willy on November 14th with Mayor Kooiker and ASCE President Andy Hermann attending. Students will put the finishing touches on the whale during the next few weeks. Storybook Island is children's theme park open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. 

Willie without concrete
Willie the Whale before (above) and after (below) concrete 

Willie with concrete


CEE Seminar Series: 

The CEE graduate student seminar series is typically held the second and fourth Wednesdays each month from 4-4:50 p.m. in CB204W. The SDSM&T and engineering community are welcome to attend. Please check the CEE webpage for updates. 


11/14 - 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers President Andrew Hermann visits campus and discusses professional ethics (joint meeting with ASCE).


11/28 - University of Arizona doctoral student and co-founder and director of Sustainable Nations, PennElys Droz, "Wetland design for secondary treatment of sewage in northern climates."


12/5 - Liz Berg (BSCE 06), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (joint meeting with ASCE). 

Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Updates


Steel Bridge News

The Steel Bridge Team activity is gaining momentum. Developing a "Mario" theme for the bridge this year, the team is working on designs and hope to have a couple by the end of the month. The team has a graphic designer working on t-shirt ideas and hopes to start raising funds to purchase better tools for the project.  


Concrete Canoe Update

The concrete canoe project is coming along great! Team members recently organized a captains' meeting to set goals for subcommittees. The hull design team's goal is to have all design work done by Thanksgiving. The design group has purchased the necessary software and began work on the design last week. The paddling team's goal is to continue practicing twice a week to improve turning and teamwork. With the weather quickly turning cold, project members got approval to start practicing in the pool of the King Center. The mix design team's goal is to establish the best concrete mix with the right reinforcement combination that will make the canoe easy to fabricate, as well as have the strength needed for different races. Lastly, the fundraising committee has set a goal of raising $6,000 dollars.

Student Opportunities


Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference

Save the date! The 11th Annual Western South Dakota Hydrology Conference will be April 18, 2013, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD. Conference planners are seeking speakers, posters, and vendors, and sponsoring a student poster contest for the April conference. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third places. The conference website will be updated as details are released. While the executive sponsor for the 2013 conference is RESPEC Water & Natural Resources, other sponsors include: the National Weather Service, South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, U.S. Geological Survey, and West Dakota Water Development District. Professional development hours and continuing education credits will be available for session attendees. Conference registration opens March 1, 2013. 


Study Abroad in New Zealand
What: University of Canterbury (UC) International Mobility Inbound Study Abroad Award in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 50 awards will be offered to students who have applied and have accepted a place at the (UC) to study for one semester or one year in the Study Abroad Program. Students who receive this scholarship must have completed a minimum of one year at their home university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The scholarship application is included with admission application for the Study Abroad Program. 

M Week News


M Week festivities commenced October 8th on campus. During the week, students nominated Michelle Kelley (BS EnvE) and Jake Hladysz (BSCE) to homecoming court, where they served as candidates for queen and king. On October 12, students participated in the annual climbing of the hill and whitewashing the M, a tradition started 100 years ago, when students and faculty constructed the large M on Cowboy Hill. According to SDSM&T Centennial: An Illustrated History 1885-1995, the idea of creating the giant M dated back several years prior to 1912 when students and faculty proposed placing a large letter in a prominent place to help advertise the school. 
Although erecting an electric sign was one possibility considered, the group decided to have the students construct an M because it would be less costly and would offer a great student learning experience.  On October 8, 1912, School of Mines President Dr. C.C. O'Harra gave students the day off to build the huge M on land owned by prominent local businessman Tom Sweeney. Approximately 75 students and faculty brought picks, shovels, and other tools to Cowboy Hill that day. Builders used two teams of horses with plows and wagons to loosen and remove the soil and carry in more than 100 wagonloads of rock to fill in the area. The students then whitewashed the new M, measuring 112 by 67 feet. It was hailed as the largest letter in the state and could be seen twelve miles away.  During the following years, M-Day consisted of pulling weeds between the stones and whitewashing the letter.  In 1922, the stones were replaced with concrete, and the tradition of setting a senior plaque began.
This year's senior plaque and a special M-Hill 100th anniversary plaque were installed by several CEE students in the spirit of those early efforts from a century past: Cole Bedford, Kirk Ehlke, Tony Kulesa and Ben Wolf. Alumnus and Dr. Hansen (CE69) has frequently contributed to these efforts over the years. [Thanks to Tim Vottero for this story.]
4 Fellas with Plaque
L-R: Tony Kulesa, Ben Wolf, Kirk Ehlke, and Cole Bedford

Faculty Updates


Dr. Scott Kenner sends greetings from Mongolia:
Well, it has been a little over two months and I am finding plenty of things to do. I am living in a fairly new apartment from which I walk pretty much everywhere I go.  It is about five minutes to the Mongolia University of Science and Technology (MUST) campus, which is very nice. I am teaching two courses; one for the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) masters degree program on Monitoring and Modeling River Basins.  The IWRM program is a joint program between the MUST, National University of Mongolia (NUM) and the Agricultural University.  The second course on Hydrologic Modeling is for the Meteorological and Hydrology Department of the National University of Mongolia.  Both classes have about 18 students.
The language is a big challenge.  Two weeks ago I started private lessons, beginning with the alphabet. It is a big challenge for me.  I really need to build vocabulary and that is difficult.
I have talked with several faculty members from MUST and NUM about research.  I am working with Soninhishig, head of the Biology Department at NUM. Dr. Soninhishig has a project on the Orkhon River to establish environmental low flows because there is a major reservoir proposed for the lower part of the river.  We were able to visit three sites and conduct a full EMAP Physical Habitat Assessment.  She was excited about the data and the students with us worked very hard.  The Orkhon River is in a beautiful broad valley which is full of a historical lava flow. 
I have met several very kind and helpful people and Ayurzana, a MS graduate student helps me with everything.  He is my right hand person. We are starting to develop a research project on storm water for Ulanbataar City that could potentially support his doctoral studies.
Dr. Kenner in Mongolia
Dr. Kenner in Mongolia
The University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand awarded Dr. James Stone an Erskine teaching fellowship.  Dr. Stone will teach two courses at the university between June and September 2013.  According to the University of Canterbury, each year about 70 distinguished, international academic visitors with expertise in courses offered by the Faculties of Commerce, Engineering or Science are invited to the University of Canterbury as guest lecturers.
Dr. Sangchul Bang and Dr. Sookie Bang continue their research in Mongolia with $70,000 of additional funding from Lotte Engineering and Construction of Korea. The project involving the use of microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP), also known as bacterial cement, in combination with soil fibers to strengthen the soil to prevent the sand particles from becoming airborne as dust storms, a growing problem in Mongolia. Phase two of the project will involve laboratory wind erosion tests using a wind tunnel on sand samples that are reinforced with bio-degradable fibers and MICP. Collaborators at the National University of Mongolia and Mongolian University of Science and Technology will duplicate the experiments in Mongolia with local desert sand, prior to the third year field trial in Mongolia.
Dr. Andrea Surovek was awarded $40,000 by the Steel Joist Institute to continue work on the use of equivalent beam theory to estimate the moment of inertia and weight of steel joists selected for building designs using commercial software.  The overall goal of this project is to provide the Engineer of Record (EOR) an inclusive method for estimating joist weights and associated costs for steel joists subjected to a variety of cases, such as drifted snow. Current series load tables work well for uniform loads but leave the EOR with many unanswered questions when it comes to non-uniform loadings. Stephen Kilber, MSCE student, is currently working with Dr. Surovek on the research. Dr. Surovek's previous work with SJI validated the use of Virtual Joist Girder Tables that are now available from SJI
Dr. Soonkie Nam is collaborating with former CEE professor and professional advisory board member Dr. Lance Roberts on a new South Dakota Department of Transportation project. The design of flexible pavement systems has primarily been based on the road test conducted in Ottawa, Illinois in the late 1950s, but has since become inefficient because of limitations related to traffic loading, climatic effects, design life prediction and reliability. A flexible pavement design approach that couples effective stress, time, and temp would be advantageous to the overall design process. A new lab test method, coupled with an improved modeling approach that may be able to predict the true rutting and cracking potential of asphalt, is under investigation. 
Dr. James Stone has received two grants to develop life cycle assessment models including $13,000 from the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and $11,000 from Colorado Beef Council. 
Dr. Sangchul Bang was invited by the Federal Highway Administration to present research on Full Depth Reclamation of Asphalt Pavements at the FHWA Western Regional In-Place Recycling Conference in Ontario, CA, in September.
In July, Dr. Andrea Surovek travelled to Timisoara, Romania to participate in Connections VII, a by-invitation-only international workshop held every four years. Dr. Surovek presented the paper, "Friction Stir Welding of Steel," co-authored by Dr. Bharat Jasthi and Dr. Christian Widener of the Arbegast Advanced Materials Processing (AMP) Center. She and Dr. Jashti have also been invited to present a session on the topic at the 2013 North American Steel Construction Conference (NASCC) in April in St. Louis, Mo.  
Surovek with Castle
Dr. Surovek at the Castle Hunedoara in Transylvania
In October, Dr. Surovek was invited to present the results of the workshop, "Innovations in Steel Design: Research Needs for Global Competitiveness," to the American Institute of Steel Construction Research Committee.
Recent PhD graduate Joshua Valder served as lead author for the article, "Multivariate statistical approach to estimate mixing proportions for unknown end members," published in the Journal of Hydrology.  Additional authors on the paper included CEE faculty member Dr. Scott Kenner, Dr. Arden Davis (GeolE) and Andrew Long of the US Geological Survey.
As lead author, Josh Anderson (MES PhD student) published a paper in the International Journal of Geo-Engineering entitled, "Application of Microbiological Calcite to Fiber Reinforced Soils to Reduce Wind Erosion Potential," (Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 47-54, June, 2012).  Co-authors included SDSM&T faculty Dr. Sangchul Bang and Dr. Sookie Bang.
The paper, Looking Towards the Future, co-authored by Dr. Andrea Surovek and Dr. Judy Liu (Purdue University) was published in the October issue of Modern Steel Construction, available online at  
Dr. Stone has recently published three journal papers based on research performed with research colleagues, including Corn yields and no-tillage affects carbon sequestration and carbon footprints. Agronomy Journal. 104(3) 763-770.; Great Plains soils may be C sinks.  Better Crops. 96(2) 22-24.; and Effects of chlortetracycline amended feed on anaerobic sequencing batch reactor performance of swine manure digestion.  Bioresource Technology.  125(2012) 65-74. Former graduate and undergraduate students served as co-authors.
In February and May of this year, Dr. Venkataswamy Ramakrishnan, CEE Distinguished Professor Emeritus, was recently invited to India to present keynote papers and special lectures. He gave talks in four different cities in India, Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, and Nashik, entitled "Fibers Reinforced Concrete Past Present and Future" and "Bacterial Concrete, Basalt Rods, and Synthetic Fiber Cables." 
In June, Dr. Scott Kenner and Dr. Jennifer Benning worked with 250 Native American students this summer during the GEAR Up program. Dr. Kenner lectured about water quality, monitoring, and assessment processes to sophomore, junior, and senior Gear Up students to prepare them for fieldwork. These activities were part of the education outreach for an EPA grant. Drs. Kenner and Benning have to develop a watershed management plan for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 
Dr. Sangchul Bang was one of several authors for a paper on conference proceedings presented at the 22nd International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference in Rhodes, Greece, in June, 2012.  The paper was entitled, "Design and Installation of Small-Scale Monopod Suction Pile and Tripod Suction Buckets for Offshore Wind Farms." 
In October, Dr. Sookie S. Bang (CBE), Dr. Sangchul Bang (CEE), Josh Anderson (MES Ph.D. student), and co-authors presented and published a technical paper entitled, Application of Microbial Calcite to Hemp Fiber Reinforced Soils to Combat Desertification, at the 11th International Symposium on New Technologies for Urban safety of Mega Cities in Asia, held in  Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. This international conference was sponsored by the Office of the President of Mongolia, the National Security Council of Mongolia, and the Government of Ulaanbaatar City. This research is part of the three-year research project sponsored by Lotte Engineering & Construction, Korea.
Dr. Stone's research group has been presenting work across the state and country. Presentations by Dr. Stone and colleagues include: Life cycle assessment modeling of South Dakota ethanol production to achieve California low carbon fuel standards presented at the Center for BioEnergy Research and Development Industrial Advisory Board Meeting, Raleigh NC, in May; Life Cycle Assessment Analysis for Active and Passive Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Options for the Stockton Coal Mine, New Zealand, presented at the Eastern South Dakota Water Conference, Brookings, SD, in October 2012; Life Cycle Assessment Analysis for Active and Passive Acid Mine Drainage Treatment presented at the Life Cycle Assessment XII conference, Tacoma WA, in September; and The use of Life Cycle Assessment as a sustainability metric for environmental and agricultural systems presented at the University of South Dakota Sustainability Seminar Series, Vermillion SD, in October.
SDSM&T faculty members continually work to improve student learning through participation in educational workshops.  Dr. James Stone attended an ASCE ExCEEd workshop held at Florida Gulf Coast University in July. The ExCEEd Teaching Workshop is a six-day practicum that provides engineering educators with an opportunity to improve teaching. Dr. Stone also attended the TeGrate teaching sustainability workshop for GeoSciences at Carlton College in July.
Dr. Andrea Surovek attended the ASEE Advanced National Effective Teaching Institute (NETI2) in Seattle in October. NETI-2 is designed for instructors exploring techniques that pose greater challenges to both instructors and students and promote greater learning and skill acquisition. Dr. Jennifer Benning will also be attending the NETI workshop sponsored by ASEE in January.
Dr. Jennifer Benning attended an EPSCoR-funded workshop, Living on Earth III in October, to foster collaborative efforts that address sustainability science by building critical science and research capacity in understanding complex and coupled human-natural/socio-ecological systems.  Dr. Benning also serves on the EPSCoR Socio-Ecological Science Steering Committee. 
Dr. Molly Gribb attended a Cloud Peak Energy mine tour in June and had the pleasure of detonating a blast at the Cordero Rojo mine near Gillette, WY. She also visited with EnvE senior student, Kyle Doerr, who interned at Cloud Peak this summer. 
Dr. Gribb at Cloud Peak
Dr. Gribb at the Cordero Rojo Mine operated by Cloud Peak Energy