The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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CEE Department Receives $10,000 Grant and $20,000 Fellowship from GeoEngineers

Guoping Zhang


Don J. DeGroot

Don J. DeGroot 

Professors Guoping Zhang and Don J. DeGroot of the Geotechnical Engineering Program within the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (CEE) are overseeing research being funded by GeoEngineers, a Seattle-based earth science and technology company. GeoEngineers awarded the CEE department a $10,000 unrestricted grant and $20,000 in fellowship money, both supporting coastal research to be conducted by the department.

DeGroot noted that the main person at GeoEngineers to take the initiative for the fellowship donation is David S. Eley, P.E., who is a 1991 graduate of our geotechnical engineering program.

The funded research will focus on the geotechnical engineering aspects in coastal research. The research is part of GeoEngineers’ coastal initiative plan to find new and better ways to help improve and save the nation's coastline.

Zhang researches nano/micro mechanics of low-dimensional geomaterials for energy and marine ecosystem sustainability; bioinspired/bioengineered soil stabilization for coastal/wetland sustainability; novel geopolymers for infrastructure, environment, and energy sustainability; and the behavior of soft marine/wetland clays and residual soil.

Among other research, DeGroot was the principal investigator for a major $2,384,579 National Science Foundation grant, initiated in 2005, to support a project for “Developing International Protocols for Offshore Sediments and their Role in Geohazards: Characterization, Assessment, and Mitigation.”

The GeoEngineers Coastal Geotechnical Fellowship will be awarded to one or more graduate students pursuing a doctoral or master’s degree in Geotechnical Engineering with a special focus on Coastal Geotechnical Engineering within the CEE department.
According to the GeoEngineers website, it is an employee-owned company of technical experts known for their integrity and strong client relationships. Building on its founders’ vision, the firm has developed a reputation as creative thinkers and trusted advisors who work in partnership with its clients. GeoEngineers has grown from a small consulting partnership to a talented, multidisciplinary team of more than 300 people who work in 14 offices nationwide. The firm has completed more than 40,000 projects worldwide for a broad range of public and private clients. (July 2015)