SimCenter Welcomes 2021 Summer REUs

June 9, 2021

The NHERI SimCenter is excited to host three REU students this summer. NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program promotes education and research through internships in active research. The three REUs join the SimCenter for an intensive ten-week internship where they complete independent research projects, mentored by domain experts on the software development team. Their research outcomes will be presented August 9-10 at the University of Texas at Austin with REUs from the other NHERI sites.

Meet the REUs

Adithya Nair

Adithya completed his Junior year in the civil engineering program, with an emphasis in geotechnical engineering, at the Ohio State University. He notes that “the wide gamut of application and work in civil engineering truly interests me, as well as the fact that we are the engineers most in contact with the public. I wanted to pursue research over the summer and heard about the REU programs from a friend, so I applied to a couple and, fortunately, got my first choice! The dedication of the developers in producing open source software is awesome! This exposure will open me back up to programming, which I have lost a lot of touch with, and the scope it has for earthquake engineering.” Adithya is being mentored by Drs. Sang-ri Yi and Aakash Bangalore Satish with guidance from Professor Pedro Arduino. The project title is “Uncertainty analysis of seismic soil liquefaction using quoFEM.”



Claire Sorensen

Claire completed her Junior year in the coastal engineering program at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. She says that she finds “civil engineering interesting because it is a field that can be applied to all aspects of society. As a civil engineer you get the opportunity to be creative with your work and where you want to apply it. I applied for the NHERI REU program because one of my professors at UNCW recommended it to me and provided me with insight on how it may benefit me in the long-run. The SimCenter has impressed me with how many different projects the team is designing at once and how each member helps the others with their work to make it a collaborative effort. I am excited to run storm surge simulations that model storms which have impacted an area that I am familiar with (along the east coast), as I think it will give me more appreciation for and understanding of the power of weather phenomena and natural hazards.” Claire is being mentored by Dr. Ajay Harish on a project titled “Coupling process- and neural network-based models for studying storm surge in Chesapeake Bay.”


William Zakka

William has completed his Junior year studying civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Will has prior undergraduate research experience in geotechnical engineering, and he says “what interests me about civil engineering is the incredible way it can impact the lives of entire communities. I decided to apply to the REU program after hearing about it from a couple of my professors and researching more about the program. I have definitely been impressed by the SimCenter; I am amazed by how much work and thought goes behind the development of many of the tools here. I really appreciate that my SimCenter mentor planned the project with my technical interests in mind, and I am excited to learn more about soil modelling and site response analysis.” Will is being mentored by Dr. Adam Zsarnóczay, and his project is to evaluate the influence of liquefaction in seismic risk to the city of Alameda, California.