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Civil engineering doctoral alum earns top marks from ASCE conference

Dan Ding poses after receiving her award.

Dan Ding poses with Dick Vaeth of Black & Veatch after she earned first-place honors in the student poster competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers 2015 Annual Kansas City Geotechnical Conference on April 23 with her poster, titled “Reliability of Shallow Foundations Designed Using LRFD (Load and Resistance Factor Design) with Different Numbers of Strength Measurements.”

Dan Ding nearly missed the announcement. The assistant adjunct professor of civil engineering and recent doctoral recipient stepped out in the hall to return a phone call about a job interview. But the game of phone tag kept her a little bit longer than she had planned.

“I didn’t get through, and they came out looking for me,” Ding said with a laugh. “They brought me back inside, and they told me I won.”

Ding earned first-place honors in the student poster competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers 2015 Annual Kansas City Geotechnical Conference on April 23 with her poster, titled “Reliability of Shallow Foundations Designed Using LRFD (Load and Resistance Factor Design) with Different Numbers of Strength Measurements.” The project’s abstract stated the end result of her work illustrated the fact that “as greater numbers of measurements are considered, the LRFD methods produce increasing percentages of satisfactory designs that practically achieve the target probability of failure and decreasing percentages of over reliable designs.”

“Results show that LRFD methods using calibrated resistance factors produce a consistently low percentage of under-reliable designs when more than five measurements are used,” Ding said.

Ding sent the abstract to conference officials earlier this year before submitting the poster in full before the deadline, which fell a week before the conference. At the conference, she answered a variety of questions about her project from industry professionals and other students. Ding also had the chance to attend a sessions on varied civil engineering issues, many of them centering on projects in and around the Kansas City area. She also was able to take advantage of the networking opportunity the conference provided.

Ding stressed the importance of competition events for current and future students.

“It’s really good for students to go to these competitions, both regionally and nationally,” Ding said. “You get the opportunity to network in your major, both with professors from universities and industry professionals.”

As for the future, Ding said she’s looking forward to transitioning into industry — and eventually acing that job interview.

“I want to get a job working in geotech, and I’d really like to earn my P.E. (Professional Engineer certification),” she said.