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2016 Awards

​Researcher of the Year - 2016
Nadim Wehbe
Nadim Wehbe

Nadim Wehbe is the John M. Hanson professor in Structural and Construction Engineering and head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department.  He holds a B.E. (Bachelor of Engineering) degree in Civil Engineering from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Nadim joined the SDSU faculty as an assistant professor in January 1998. 

Nadim’s early scholarly efforts resulted in establishing the Lohr Structures Laboratory at SDSU.  Since it was founded, the Lohr lab has been the site for numerous research studies involving full-scale testing of bridge, building, and industrial structural systems.  Nadim’s main research interests include earthquake resistant structures and bridge engineering.  Many of his research studies have focused on improving the transportation infrastructure in South Dakota.  The results of his research have been published in peer-reviewed journals and reports and presented at national and international forums.  His work on the development of new detailing for improved performance of double tee bridge girders in South Dakota received national recognition in 2015 as one of 16 “high value research projects” in the nation.  Nadim has been successful in obtaining external grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT), and many private sector institutions. 

Nadim is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI).


Young Investigator of the Year 2016
photo of Christopher Saunders
Christopher Saunders

Saunders is a mathematical statistician specializing in statistical pattern recognition, forensic identification of source problems, and signal processing. He currently holds appointments with MITRE as a Lead Signal Processing Engineer and South Dakota State University as an Associate Professor of Statistics. After receiving his Ph. D. from the University of Kentucky, Dr. Saunders was the first statistician to be awarded an Intelligence Community Research Fellowship, where he was trained in pattern recognition, machine learning, and the presentation and interpretation of forensic evidence. He has had continuous research support since 2006, with approximately $10 million being awarded to Saunders as the PI or co-PI since 2008. Two million of this funding has been awarded to his current research focus related to the identification of source problems from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the National Institute of Justice. Many of these projects are collaborations with the FBI (where he served as a visiting scientist in 2013) and the broader intelligence community.

Saunders and his colleague, assistant professor Cedric Neumann, are developing and evaluating statistical models designed to determine the probability values for evidence like glass shards, fingerprints, bullets and handwriting through a three-year (2014-17), $780,300 grant from the National Institute of Justice.


Grantswinship Awards-2016

These faculty and staff members of the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering have received at least $100,000 in external funding awards and/or have achieved at least $100,000 in expenditures of external funds.

Group photo Grantwinship
Grantswinship Award Winners-2016

Back row L-R: Chris Saunders, Sung Shin, Reinaldo Tonkoski, Ross Abraham, Rich Reid, Sharon Vestal, Nadim Wehbe, Greg Vavra, Dennis Helder.

Front row L-R: Cedric Neumann, Zhong Hu, Fereidoon Delfanian, Qiquan Qiao, Suzette Burckhard, Guanghu Hua, Chris Schmit