Four University of South Alabama engineering students recently presented their work at the 102nd Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, including an undergraduate student whose paper on recycled asphalt material has been accepted for publication.
“The Transportation Research Board has a high bar on the presentation and paper selection,” said Dr. Shenghua Wu, an assistant professor in the department of civil, coastal and environmental engineering. “More than 5,000 papers were submitted this year.
“Approximately half were presented at the 2023 annual meeting, but less than 20 percent were accepted for publication.”
Cade Marty, a senior majoring in civil engineering, was invited to lecture from the lecturn to a room filled with industry professionals and experts about his evaluation of a road paved entirely with recycled asphalt material. The process involved using a “cold mix” meaning the recycled asphalt wasn’t heated prior to being applied, thus saving energy costs and reducing emissions.
Marty, who throws the javelin for the South track team, was awarded the $3,500 Acott/Wilson Asphalt Industry Scholarship by the National Asphalt Pavement Association. His paper has been accepted for publication by the Transportation Research Record Journal.
“My initial reaction was nervousness,” Marty said. “I decided to fix my focus on what I needed to do each day to prepare myself, rather than focus on the big picture. This helped to calm my nerves and allowed me to prepare for the presentation efficiently.”
Michael Cottrell, a senior in mechanical engineering, had a poster presentation featuring his work on the evaluation of a contactless method for measuring specific gravity of aggregates and asphalt mixtures.
Both students are research assistants for Wu. South was also represented at the conference by Dr. Min-Wook Kang, professor in the department of civil, coastal and environmental engineering, as well as Ph.D. students Moynur Rahman and Pranesh Biswas.
The gathering is the world’s largest transportation conference, with approximately 20,000 people attending. U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm were the keynote speakers.
“The Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting program covers all transportation modes, with sessions and workshops addressing topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions,” Kang said.
“It is also a great platform that establishes and strengthens networking, friendship, and inspiration of young talents and future generations in the transportation field,” Wu said.