Alumni News

Abdullah Al-Hussein stands before an archway in the city of Babylon

Abdullah Al-Hussein
 (Ph.D. – 2015).

I obtained my PhD in civil engineering and engineering mechanics from the University of Arizona in 2015. The knowledge and experiences I gained during my studies at the UA helped me tremendously in my career as a faculty member in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Basrah, Iraq. I have taught a variety of different courses, including engineering analysis, numerical analysis and material science.

As a consultant in the University of Basrah’s Engineering Consultant Bureau, I have worked on structural design and analysis for several multistory reinforced concrete buildings, rehabilitation of buildings, preparation of engineering drawings, tender documents for the civil engineering works, soil investigations, and surveying works.

I was recently a consultant for the construction of a berthing structure in Um-Qaser Port in Basrah, and I am still researching structural health assessment with professor Achintya Haldar at the University of Arizona.


Chanlin Wong stands before a tree, smiling.

Chanlin Wong
 (B.S – 2017) has been working in a variety of different teams for Kimley-Horn's Raleigh, North Carolina, headquarters. He is currently solving challenges as part of the transportation and traffic team. Read more about what Chanlin has been working on in the first of our series of CEEM Alumni Profiles.

Alejandro Angel (Ph.D. – 2008) was recently named as Vice-President at Psomas in Tucson.  Angel, the company's traffic engineering manager, has been involved in traffic analysis and roadway design projects including the Tangerine Farms Corridor, Parkway and 22nd Street interchange and the I-19 frontage roads. Congratulations Alejandro!



Ben Ansley (B.S. – 2006) is currently working as a bridge designer with AECOM in Phoenix, Arizona, and has been there for three years. He is married and his wife just gave birth to their daughter Jacqueline Grace on October 23, 2011. Ben is currently trying to obtain a Professional Engineer License in California.



Cemal Basaran (Ph.D. – 1994) graduated with a PhD in EM from CEEM—and he remembers that Dr. Desai was his PhD adviser. He has very good memories of U of A and Tucson, except he recalls he could never get tickets to the basketball games, because it was based on a lottery system back when he attended school.

Cemal is currently Professor and Director of Electronic Packaging Laboratory in the Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Last November 2011, he received the ASME Excellence in Mechanics Award for outstanding contributions in engineering mechanics application in Electronics and Photonics Packaging.

Additionally, Cemal recently received the Outstanding Paper Award in Mechanics Track at the June 2012, IEEE Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomeno in Electronic Systems

Since graduating from the U of A in 1994, Cemal has published 112 Archival Journal Papers and supervised (as the primary adviser) 21 PhD students.

After graduation, Darin Brown (B.S. – 1993) moved to Nebraska to take a position with the Nebraska Department of Roads. Nebraska, with 16,000 bridges statewide, was a perfect place to begin his structural engineering profession in the transportation industry. Darin worked as a Project Engineer and Project Manager for 12 years, specializing in bridge construction projects. In 2008, he accepted a bridge design position with the Schemmer Associates in Omaha, NE. Schemmer is a company of roughly 120 employees with offices in Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Currently, Darin is the Bridge Group Manager overseeing all bridge design operations for all its offices.

Cesar Canon (M.S. – 2010) has currently been attending the Universidad de Antioquia since March 2011. He is a researcher working in a project of risk analysis associated to climate change and land use in the Grande River basin in Medellín, Colombia.

Cesar is in charge of detecting climate change trends through the analysis of time series of precipitation and temperature taken at stations by the Río Grande basin. Based on the results, he proposes scenarios of climate change and performs hydrologic modeling to account for water supply for the communities inside and out of the river basin. These communities depend on water for consumption, farming, industry, and electricity derived from power plants.

Bethy McGehee Clark (M.S. – 2008) is a bridge engineering working for HDR Engineering in Seattle, WA. She started with HDR in their Tucson office after completing her undergraduate degree. There she helped design bridges and other transportation structures, including I-10 overpasses at 22nd Street and Congress, and the La Cholla Boulevard Bridge over the Rillito River. Bethy moved to Seattle in 2009 and married Griffin Clark, a 2006 UA graduate, this past September. She is currently working on the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV program, a project that will widen the existing freeway connecting Seattle to the area east of Lake Washington. The project will replace many seismically deficient structures, including one of the longest floating bridges in the world.

Cornell "Corky" Collins (B.S. – 1965), former Sundt Construction employee, appeared with his daughter in an Ivory Snow commercial.  Read about it here.


At the annual meeting of the Alabama Section of ASCE & APWA that was held in August 2013, Vasco Duke, PE (class of '03), and Mo Ehsani, Professor Emeritus of CEEM, visited and spent some time catching up on campus and department news.  Vasco, whose specialty is geotechnical engineering, worked for Terracon and URS before moving to Tampa, FL where he is the Southeast Regional Engineer at GeoStabilization International.


Christopher B Elkins (M.E. – 2012) graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a BS in Civil Engineering and later graduated in 2012 with a ME in Civil Engineering (structural engineering emphasis). He acquired an internship with Grenier Engineering Inc. through an email sent to the civil engineering listserv in November of 2011 and began working full time for Grenier Engineering soon after graduation in June 2012. Since graduation, Chris acquired certificates such as concrete inspector and masonry inspector. He has also helped in the design of a 7-story above grade and a 2-story below grade multi use building which will be located in downtown Tucson, AZ, which included concrete slab on grade, post tensioned concrete slabs, and light gage steel. More information on the project may be found here:

Jeannette Frey (B.S. – 2010) has been with HDR in the Tucson office for a little over two years. While at HDR, she has been involved in the design of various roadway projects such as Downtown Links and La Canada from River to Ina. Recent contributions include a New Mexico DOT project through a work share program and assisting in the facilitation of the Broadway Widening Public Listening Session.

Jeanette is currently working on a Pima County DOT project which entails the widening of Valencia Road from Wade to Mark, transforming it from a two-lane undivided highway into four lanes with a median. She is a part-time graduate student at the University of Arizona seeking a Master’s in Engineering Management. In addition, she is an active member of WTS, an international organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women in transportation.

Since graduation, Colby Harris (B.S. – 2011) has been assisting in the implementation and management of the Quality Assurance Program for the $280 Million Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) waste water treatment plant in Tucson. As a result of this program, MWH Constructors has minimized the cost of work by reducing the need for remedial efforts and expediting client acceptance of completed work. The project has been featured on the cover of ENR and includes placing over 60,000 CY of concrete and almost 7 miles of underground piping. When complete, the new design will increase the capacity of the plant from its current 37.5 million gallons per day (mgd) to 50 mgd all with improved effluent quality and odor control.

Jeff Hunt (B.S. – 2008) has worked on small to mid-size commercial, industrial and residential civil site development projects in the Southern Arizona region since graduation. Jeff decided to stay close to his alma mater and remain engaged with the University through the mentoring of current students and assisting with the Civil Engineering Senior Capstone class. 

In January 2010, Jeff and a partner, former UA graduate Kevin Hall (Civil B.S. – 1995), started Cypress Civil Development here in Tucson. The firm focuses on site civil development and planning in Tucson and the surrounding communities. Jeff enjoys playing an active role in what is affecting Tucson now and in the future. In addition to work, he participates in ASCE and Engineer’s Without Borders, as well as a men’s health charity called Movember, a Foundation focused on raising awareness and funding for the fight against prostate and testicular cancer.

Dale Kelch (B.S. – 2009) was hired by the US Air Force to be a Civil Engineer in the Palace Acquire Program. This program is a 2-year intense education and internship to learn exactly how to do Civil Engineering the Air Force way to meet the needs of the USAF. He started at his new position in June 2011 at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. He recently obtained his PE license in Ohio to add to his registration in Arizona.

Eric Loring (B.S. – 2008) continues to live the dream and still enjoys going to work for the same company that hired him fresh out of college, JCH. JCH is a small company that specializes in the design and specification of water and waste water equipment. Every day is different and Eric enjoys facing the myriad of challenges that each day brings. Excited to have a life back after passing the PE in April, he has been doing a lot of traveling around the state of Arizona for work and, as Eric said, “I'm lucky to have been involved in many cool design projects in the environmental arena.” Eric is looking forward to what the future brings with JCH and exploring as many opportunities that come his way.

Joel T. Pace (B.S. – 2008) is a volunteer member of the Existing Buildings Committee for the Structural Engineers Association of Utah and has been involved in activities geared toward preparing communities for the anticipated magnitude 7+ earthquake in the Salt Lake valley. Much of his volunteer work has been coordinated with FEMA to help them better prepare earthquake damage estimates.

Fareed Pittalwala (B.S. – 2002)

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 144,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. The election of ASCE National Officers was recently completed. CEEM alumni, Fareed S. Pittalwala, P.E., M.ASCE, was successful in his bid for Region 9 Governor. While attending the University of Arizona, Fareed was the student chapter President. Since graduating, he has worked as a structural engineer for Chicago Bridge & Iron Company in Plainfield, Illinois, and as a project manager and associate for RBF Consulting in Sacramento, California, where he is currently working. He is a mentor in the ASCE eCareer Mentor Program and chair of the Past Presidents Committee of the Sacramento Section. He received the Outstanding Younger Civil Engineer in the State of California Award, Region 9, in 2008. His professional experience includes commercial and residential development projects including improvements to pump stations, pipelines, storage tanks and well rehabilitation.

Adam G. Raczynski (M.S. – 2007) currently resides in Tucson, Arizona. He has been working for Tetra Tech as a hydrological/hydraulic designer for the past several years. His current position involves traveling to different parts of the country to inspect levees for the Army Corps of Engineers, mapping floodplains, analyzing riverbeds for scour/erosion, and water supply forecasting.

On a more personal level, Adam was married this past September 2011. He spends a lot of time training for triathlons, playing men's league softball, hiking, and running with his Weimaraner, Wrigley. Over the past few years he has fallen in love with snowboarding and cannot wait for the snow again. He spends a lot of time in the spring volunteering for the Amphi Little League as an umpire for the Majors division and is looking forward to coaching a little league team in the near future.

Joshua Sims (B.S. – 2006) has since graduation worked for a few years with Aztec Engineering in Phoenix as a Land Development and Roadway Project Engineer. In 2010, he became a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service and began working for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with the Indian Health Service. Josh is currently an environmental engineer stationed in Winterhaven, California, and president of the Ft. Yuma branch of the Commissioned Officers Association. He is also a member of the Engineering Professional Advisory Committee’s recruitment & retention subcommittee, ASCE, and the Society of American Military Engineers.

In addition to work Josh continues to stay connected to his alma mater by currently pursuing a Master of Science in Engineering Management, and of course returning to Tucson for home football games. 

Andrew Smigielski is a UA Engineering Graduate from 1994. The firm he founded – Southwest Traffic Engineering, LLC, just celebrated ten years in business.

Kevin Spencer (B.S. – 2009) has since graduation served as the design engineer, plan reviewer, and now also a field engineer for Sensys Networks in Berkeley, CA. His primary responsibilities include liaise between customers, sales team, and engineering team to design the company’s wireless traffic detection and integrated traffic data systems solutions for a wide variety of ITS applications including Arterial Travel Time (ATT) for measuring real-time LOS/Travel Time along Type I, II, or III arterials, System Detection at signalized intersections, Adaptive Signal Control systems (SCATS, SCOOT), and traffic data collection/distribution systems to measure/collect Traffic Volumes, Lane Occupancy, and Vehicle Speeds (VOS).

His notable project experience includes; the vehicle detection system for 20 SCATS Adaptive Signal Control intersections in San Jose, the traffic data collection/distribution system of 41 midblock VOS stations throughout San Francisco to integrate with SFMTA’s  “SFpark” (a state-of-the-art real-time parking management system), an advanced design concept providing an all-in-one ITS solution of Bus Signal Priority, ATT, and VOS stations along two critical corridors in the Los Angeles Metropolitan region stretching 12 miles of roadway, and numerous other designs to provide vehicle detection at signalized intersections.

In addition to work, he enjoys living in the Bay Area, participates in ASCE and ITE as well as the UA Northern California Alumni Association “UA Baycats”.


Spencer Tucker (M.S. – 2010) works for HDR Engineering in the Bridges and Structures division as a Bridge EIT. With HDR, he has been involved in several bridge projects in the United States, from Houston and Salt Lake City to local projects in Tucson and southern Arizona. His project experience includes the design of highway, pedestrian, and railroad bridges, inspection of in-service fracture critical members, and new construction inspection.

Spencer’s local project experience includes: La Cholla Blvd Bridge over the Rillito River in Tucson, AZ; Arizona Eastern Railway Railroad Bridge over Gilson Wash near Cutter, AZ; Santa Cruz Linear Park pedestrian bridges along the Santa Cruz River in Tucson, AZ.


Kyana Young (B.S. – 2009) graduated from the UA's Department of Civil Engineering in December 2009. Since then, she has enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Recently, she passed her PhD qualification exam. Kyana is very proud of this, as she can now focus on her research without the stress of passing hanging over her head. Additionally, the NSF just recently awarded her the EAPSI fellowship. This fellowship allows for Kyana to travel to three universities in China and Hong Kong, to conduct water quality research. She has remained excellent with her studies, and very active with tutoring and mentoring around the city of Madison.

Kyana notes that, “UA Department of Civil Engineering trained and prepared me well!”


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University of Arizona College of Engineering