The staff and researchers at ICT will soon miss one of the of the most energetic, hard-working, and personable students at ATREL.
Deb Mishra, who has spent the past five years conducting field work and experiments at ATREL is scheduled to defend his PhD thesis on August 19. Deb’s research work has included two ICT projects, which became the basis for his PhD thesis, “Aggregate Characteristics Affecting Response and Performance of Unsurfaced Pavements on Weak Subgrades” under the supervision of Dr. Erol Tutumluer.
Deb’s work has examined the effects of aggregates’ physical characteristics, such as particle shape and size distribution and quality aspects, on the performance of unsurfaced pavements. To verify laboratory tests, the work included accelerated testing of full-scale unsurfaced pavement sections to observe how aggregate types and qualities influenced trafficking performance. The results of the project will be incorporated into IDOT’s Subgrade Stability Manual and Specifications to reduce expenditures for aggregates in Illinois.
Deb says his work at ICT has equipped him with necessary hands-on construction experience for a career as an engineer. “The primary thing I learned from my experience at ICT is the importance of reducing the gap between state-of-the-art in pavement research and state-of-practice in applied pavement technology. Working closely with consultants and IDOT engineers, I have acquired good insight into the particular areas where research is required to better the pavement infrastructure in Illinois. Activities like preparing quarterly research reports, presenting research progress at Technical Review Panel (TRP) meetings, and writing final project reports were of immense educational value for conducting academic research in an organized manner. Moreover, research conducted under the scope of the ICT projects has enabled me to publish several technical papers in journals and peer-reviewed conference proceedings and interact with the international pavement research community.”
Besides gaining hands-on experience, Deb also credits ICT with helping him to develop leadership qualities, which he used for the benefit of several student organizations, including as the founding president of the Society of Pavement Engineers (SPE), a society for the interaction and knowledge transfer between researchers and practitioners working focusing on the pavement system. “It was a great learning experience for me to start this new society and work as the founding president from 2009-2010. We were able to conduct several developmental workshops and social events which significantly increased the amount of interaction among transportation engineering graduate students.”
Deb was also a member of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, an inaugural member of the Geo-Institute Student Presidential Group, which is a group of 17 students selected from all over the country, to work closely with the president of the ASCE Geo Institute, a member of the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee for the College of Engineering at UIUC, and President of the Indian Graduate Student Association.
Although excited about new opportunities, Deb says losing ATREL as part of his day-to-day routine will be a tough adjustment. “What I will miss the most about ATREL, is the tremendous group of students and staff working together at the ICT. The amount of help I have received from the ICT staff and fellow students on my research is impossible to describe in words. I can confidently say that my PhD research work would never be close to completion without the tremendous help and support of the ATREL team.”
Deb says his best memory from ATREL was from the BCR2A conference in the summer of 2009. “On the second day of the conference, we had hundreds of visitors touring our labs and facilities at ATREL. That was the day I comprehended the respect that the University of Illinois’ pavement research has earned in the eyes of researchers and scholars all over the world.The awe and appreciation in the eyes of all the visitors was tangible after they saw the ATREL laboratories and facilities. I felt honored and excited to be a part of something so well recognized and respected by the international pavement research community.”
“Working at ATREL and ICT has been one of the most educating and enjoyable phases of my entire life. I hope I will get a lot of chances to come back to ATREL for different professional and social activities.” So do we! ICT wishes the best of luck to Deb in his future career as a pavement engineer.