April 15, 2021

Engineering assistant professor receives NSF CAREER Award


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Ravi Kiran Yellavajjala, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the NDSU College of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, considered the agency’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty.

The more than $535,000 grant will fund research, hands-on learning experiences for students and outreach activities to increase the participation of Native Americans in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my proposal was being recommended for funding,” Yellavajjala said. “I spent the winter break contemplating how I can use this grant to fulfill the educational needs of North Dakota and address the research questions outlined in the proposal.”

Yellavajjala’s research develops and employs principles of experimental and computational mechanics and artificial intelligence to improve the durability and resilience of civil infrastructure. Money from the CAREER grant will be used to extend the applicability of reduced-scale physical models to quantify the failure behavior of full-scale structural steel castings under seismic loads.

Ultimately, he hopes to enable engineers to test reduced-scale 3D printed models using benchtop testing facilities and develop guidelines for designing and manufacturing large structural steel castings.

“This project will lead to the generation of a wealth of new knowledge in the fields of additive manufacturing, mechanics, steel structures and artificial intelligence that will be integrated with the undergraduate and interdisciplinary graduate-level courses I currently teach, benefiting students from various departments in College of Engineering and beyond,” Yellavajjala said. “This project's outcomes will also improve the current market share of structural steel castings, which enhances the scope for establishing new locally owned businesses generating new jobs.”

Yellavajjala joined NDSU in 2016 after earning his doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He has been recognized as an outstanding educator, winning the College of Engineering’s Early Career Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019.

NSF awards CAREER grants to scholars who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. Overall, CAREER awardees at NDSU have received more than $10 million in grants to conduct research in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, civil and electrical engineering, computer science, pharmaceutical sciences, plant sciences, coatings and polymeric materials, and veterinary and microbiological sciences.

Yellavajjala’s research is funded by Award No. 2045538 from the National Science Foundation.

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