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Student Leadership Council Activities

The MCEER Student Leadership Council (SLC) actively participated in a number of events in the six months following its third annual retreat, including the 2002 National Science Foundation Student Retreat at the Engineering Research Centers Annual Meeting, the MCEER Annual Meeting, and the EERI Annual Meeting.

National Science Foundation Student Retreat

Planning for the 2002 National Science Foundation’s Student Retreat, which was part of the 2002 Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Annual Meeting, in Washington, D.C., began in September. The SLC organizers (Jeff Berman, President, Rory Connell, Vice President, and Benedikt Halldorsson, Activities Coordinator) worked closely with NSF representatives to create an informative day for all participants, which included student representatives from all 18 Engineering Research Centers. The retreat began with a social breakfast and poster session, followed by a welcome from Jeff Berman, MCEER SLC President. It was a unique opportunity to share ideas, some of which will be implemented by the MCEER SLC, including an online analysis of MCEER’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). A review was included in the Fall issue of the Bulletin.

MCEER Annual Meeting

photo of Benedikt Halldorsson and Paul Senseny at the student poster session 
Benedikt Halldorsson, left, discusses his work with MCEER Industry Partner Paul Senseny of FM Global Research (right) at the Annual Meeting

SLC members Jeff Berman (University at Buffalo), Cadgas Kafali (Cornell University), Benedikt Halldorsson (University at Buffalo), Darren Vian (University at Buffalo), Terri Norton (Florida A&M), Wanlong He (City University of New York), and Mike Astrella (University at Buffalo) were appointed by their faculty PIs to attend the MCEER Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, January 22-25, 2003. During the first day, at a special closed session for the SLC, president Jeff Berman outlined this year’s tasks and activities. Plans were made to create a photo guidebook for new MCEER-funded students, to introduce them to MCEER and help them see where they fit in this large and collaborative research center. It was also decided that this year’s SLC Retreat will be held at Cornell University. Web page updating, preparing the SLC column and selecting a student for the Student Spotlight column for the next Bulletin were also discussed at this meeting. The next day, Jeff Berman gave a presentation on last year’s SLC activities, providing an overview to the PIs and industry partners. At the Icebreaker Reception, the SLC members exhibited and discussed posters highlighting their MCEER research.

EERI Annual Meeting

Four SLC members, Jeffrey Berman, Benedikt Halldorsson, Gordon Warn and Michael Pollino, all students at the University at Buffalo, attended the 2003 EERI Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, February 5-8. They participated in the Tri-Lateral Earthquake Engineering Research Center’s (EERC) SLC meeting, where PEER, MAE and MCEER SLC representatives met. Each SLC gave an update of its current and most recent activities. The discussions made it evident that the three earthquake engineering research centers have similar SWOTs, and ways to deal with them were considered. How to attract students to earthquake engineering and the SLC was also discussed, and a trilateral SLC retreat in the same format as the individual retreats was suggested. At the Icebreaker Session, MCEER representatives Gordon Warn and Michael Pollino presented posters on their research.

Seminar Series/Web Site

On February 28, 2003. Dr. F. Michael Bartlett, associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada presented “Testing Full-Scale Houses Subjected to Simulated Extreme Wind Loads.” This seminar is available online at as part of the ongoing Seminar Series.

In March, SLC member Diego Lopez-Garcia, a Ph.D. candidate at the University at Buffalo, will report on his participation in the NSF funded Tri-Center (MCEER, MAE, PEER) Field Mission, which took place in Taiwan in May of 2002. This presentation will take place in Buffalo and will be available on the SLC web site. Both seminars will be reviewed in the next issue of the Bulletin.

The MCEER-SLC webpage is newly revamped thanks to Benedikt Halldorsson. Members are encouraged to visit often for new information. A schedule for this year’s Seminar Series, guidelines for new MCEER students, and an online SWOT analysis will be available soon.

--Submitted by Cagdas Kafali, Cornell University

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