Two students from West Virginia University’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering were recently awarded prestigious fellowships to fund their graduate education and research.

Greg Michaelson, a doctoral student, received the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship, and Jenny Elyard, a senior, earned the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“These fellowships are great achievements of our students, and such fellowships are important for the prestige of our graduate program,” said Radhey Sharma, department chairman and professor in CEE. “In the last year, our students have received four such fellowships, and we expect more students to be winning these in the future.”

Michaelson, of Bluefield, completed his undergraduate education at Bluefield State College, where he served as president of their student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and graduated as the co-valedictorian of his class. He was a member of the student government and served as a tutor in BSC’s Student Support Services Program.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is highly competitive; Michaelson was one of only two WVU students to receive the fellowship this year. His doctoral work focuses on the redundancy evaluation of steel truss bridges and will have a broad impact on the reliability of the nation’s highway infrastructure. His advisor is Dr. Karl Barth, the Jack H. Samples Professor, in CEE.

At the conclusion of his doctoral studies, Michaelson intends to pursue a career in academia.

Upon completion of her undergraduate degree this May, Elyard, of Franklin, will immediately begin work on her master’s degree in civil engineering with a focus on transportation and structures. While at WVU, she has been the recipient of several scholarships, including the Promise Scholarship, the Massey Energy Scholarship and the Helen Hope Sauerwein Wilson Scholarship.

Dr. Avi Unnikrishnan, a professor in CEE, has advised Elyard throughout her undergraduate research career. Together, they have undertaken research efforts involving mitigation of end of queue crashes in freeway work zones. For her master’s, Elyard will explore ways of incorporating energy-related objectives into transportation models.

That these two high-achieving students chose to complete their graduate education at WVU is a reflection of the caliber of WVU’s graduate programs.

“We have created programs aimed at attracting and retaining the best WVU-CEE students to graduate programs,” said Sharma. “We are providing opportunities for students to gain understanding of the latest research so that they are well prepared for the global market.”


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Mary Dillon, CEMR
(304) 293-4086