TIDC Hosts Annual Night of Recognition for Student Excellence
Orono, ME – The Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center (TIDC) recognized 28 students from their six member universities at the Annual TIDC Student Recognition Night virtually on December 13th, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. In accordance with TIDC’s motto of “Students First,” the event highlighted the accomplishments and contributions of their students from the past year. The TIDC has supported more than 250 students since its creation in 2018. The Annual Student Recognition Night consists of an award ceremony that highlights student recognition awards, the winners of the Fan Favorite and Technically Judged Student Poster Contest, and the TIDC Outstanding Student of the Year. Each year, the U.S. DOT honors outstanding students from participating University Transportation Centers (UTCs) for their achievements and promise for future contributions to the transportation field. Students of the Year are selected based on their accomplishments in such areas as technical merit and research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.
TIDC announced that the 2023 Outstanding Student of the Year is Jon Pinkham of the University of Maine. Jon is an all-around outstanding student who, in addition to contributing incredible work on TIDC’s Assessment of CT Girder Load Distribution and Web Buckling Through Field Load Testing and Finite-Element Analysis project, has written several publications and journals, achieved a 4.0 GPA in his studies, is an active member of the student chapter of ASCE at UMaine, owns a landscaping company, and was the 2020 Firefighter of the Year in Damariscotta. On December 7th, 2023, Jon was additionally recognized for this prestigious award in front of a crowd of hundreds at the 72nd Maine Transportation Conference in Augusta, Maine, hosted by the Maine Department of Transportation. Dr. Habib Dagher, Director of the TIDC, welcomed Pinkham as student of the year: “After all of Jon’s hard work and determination, I am excited to see him reap the fruits of his efforts. We look forward to seeing more accomplishments from Jon in his future endeavors.” A warm congratulations to Jon Pinkham, who is well deserving of TIDC Outstanding Student of the Year.
In addition to the Outstanding Student of the Year Award, the Annual TIDC Student Poster Contest is designed to recognize excellence in student research and improve the visibility of student research efforts in transportation related fields. As part of the Student Poster Contest, the top three “Fan Favorites” were voted on by external viewers from November 13, 2023 to Friday, December 8, 2023. Additionally, the top three posters based on grading criteria were selected by members of the TIDC Advisory Board to be recognized. The winners were announced at the award ceremony during the Annual Student Recognition Night. TIDC shares student posters, presentations, and abstracts submitted to the Student Poster competition on the TIDC website and social media accounts. The virtual format allows families, friends, researchers, professors, transportation professionals, and other interested parties to view the posters and presentations.
The technically judged winners of the 2023 Student Poster Contest are as follows: In first place is Sebastian Montoya-Vargas of the University of Maine with their poster on ‘Flexural Strength of Micropile Threaded Connections.’ Tied for second place is Bismark Yehoah of the University of Vermont with his poster on ‘Performance Concrete Optimized for Cost, Durability, Manufacturability and Sustainability’ and Prakash Bhandari of the University of Connecticut with his poster on ‘Continuous Real-Time Highway Bridge Joint Monitoring System.’ In third place is Neha Subedi of the University of Vermont with her poster on ‘Utilization of Processed Glass Aggregate in Transportation Projects as a Substitute to Sand Borrow.’
The Fan Favorites of the 2023 Student Poster Contest are as follows: In first place is Bharath Krupa Teja Mekala of the University of Connecticut with his poster on ‘Prediction and Prevention of Bridge Performance Degradation due to Corrosion, Material Loss, and Microstructural Changes.’ In second place is Prakash Bhandari of the University of Connecticut with his poster on ‘Continuous Real-Time Highway Bridge Joint Monitoring System.’ In third place is Bismark Yehoah of the University of Vermont with his poster on ‘Performance Concrete Optimized for Cost, Durability, Manufacturability and Sustainability.’
Congratulations to the winners of this year’s TIDC Student Recognition Night competitions, and to all of the students, whom without which TIDC research would not be possible.
The TIDC is the 2018 U.S. DOT Region 1 University Transportation Center located within the University of Maine Advanced Structures & Composites Center. TIDC’s focus is on extending the life and improving the durability of transportation assets. The University of Maine has partnered with The University of Connecticut, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Vermont, and Western New England University in collaboration with all 6 New England DOTs to create TIDC.