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Civil engineering Ph.D. student honored for research

Henry Lester was one of two students who received the Young Scientist Award at the ASCE’s Second International Conference on Vulnerability and Risk Analysis and Management, or ICVRAM 2014, and Sixth International Symposium on Uncertainty Modeling and Analysis.

The Young Scientist Award honors a student who co-authors and presents a paper of outstanding quality, demonstrating high quality research in uncertainty modeling, risk analysis and management and their applications. The award is sponsored by Springer Verlag and includes a book voucher and a certificate.

Lester’s paper, “Detecting Shift Moments in Construction Activity to Estimate Disaster Recovery,” was co-written with guidance from his Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Gary Moynihan, assistant director of the Alabama Industrial Assessment Center, and Dr. Marcus Perry, associate professor of statistics at the University.

The paper investigates changes in construction patterns as a basis for estimating post-disaster recovery and provides a predictive model for disaster recovery. Lester’s conclusions are based on an analysis of fluctuations in monthly single-family residential building permits data in the United States Gulf Coast from 1996–2012.

Lester is currently completing a Ph.D. in philosophy in civil engineering at the University and expects to graduate in fall 2014. Previously, he also earned a bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s degree in operations management from the University of Arkansas and a second master’s degree in civil engineering from UA.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,800 students and more than 130 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.