Writer: Isabel Rodriguez
As if he needed another reason to continue his education at New Mexico State University, Andrew Giesler, NMSU civil engineering senior, was recently awarded $20,000 from the Daniel P. Jenny Research Fellowship program to further his research testing precast, pre-stressed concrete.
The fellowship was awarded through The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and becomes effective in spring 2013, when Giesler begins his work as a graduate student.
“We’ll be making beams with Coreslab Structures Inc. out of Albuquerque,” he said. “Basically, we’re designing the reaction frames to test the beams in the laboratory. These beams are geared towards bridge design. Hopefully, the beams will be able to be implemented into state design codes.”
Giesler and Brad Weldon, civil engineering instructor, will conduct large-scale testing on beams made from ultra-high performance concrete – a mixture produced at NMSU, from local materials.
“We’ll be the first in the state to do large-scale testing,” Giesler added. “There has been a lot of testing on small samples – cylinders, cubes, rectangular beams – but those [tests] aren’t as representative as large-scale testing. This will be more accurate of how the beams actually behave when making bridges.”
Giesler was originally an aerospace engineering major, but switched to civil after taking a class with Weldon. With civil engineering, he’s found something he’s passionate about, he said, describing the department as “extremely helpful.”
“I’ve loved it,” he added. “”I really enjoyed my bridge inspection coop through NMSU. Being able to be hands on with these types of structures is something I am really passionate about.”
Giesler, a graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, also said he hopes to contribute to expanding the use of UHPC in the state.
“There aren’t a lot of people doing this kind of work in New Mexico,” he explained. “I’d like to be a part of implementing widespread use of UHPC. It’d be a really great thing to get ahead of the game. I think it would provide the public a lot more assurance when they’re driving over bridges.”
Only four other students in the nation were recognized with similar fellowships.