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Earthquake Engineer Earns ASCE Fellow Status

 Ellen Rathje in the field wearing a hard hat and backpack

Sept. 20, 2016

Professor Ellen Rathje has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). She is recognized for contributions to civil engineering including research accomplishments in geotechnical earthquake engineering and leadership in technical organizations and large, collaborative projects.

ASCE Fellows have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that change lives around the world. It is a prestigious honor held by fewer than 3.5% of ASCE members.

Rathje is the Warren S. Bellows Centennial Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and is currently the principal investigator for the DesignSafe-ci.org cyberinfrastructure for the NSF-funded Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure. Her research spans the technical areas of seismic-site response analysis, seismic-slope stability, and satellite remote sensing of geotechnical phenomena. 

Within earthquake engineering, she has promoted the incorporation of uncertainty in site-response analysis and seismic-slope stability analysis, and has developed tools and approaches for use in engineering practice. She also helped pioneer the application of satellite remote sensing to geotechnical engineering, using optical satellite imagery to document the occurrence of earthquake-induced landslides and measure ground displacements due to landslides and liquefaction.

"Being involved in earthquake engineering research is rewarding to me because it has the potential to save lives and reduce the effects of earthquakes on communities," said Rathje.

Rathje has taken on important leadership roles in various organizations. Since joining ASCE as an undergraduate student, she has remained active in the organization through the Geo-Institute’s Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics Committee and the Geo-Institute’s Awards Committee. From 2007 to 2015 she was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.

She is a founding member and current co-chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association. She was also a member of the board of directors of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute from 2010 to 2013.

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