Reflections from 12NCEE – Wael Aloqaily

Wael Aloqaily, PhD Candidate, at 12NCEE in Salt Lake City, Utah (June 27-July 1, 2022)

This summer, I attended the 12th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering to join the experts in earthquake engineering and community resilience around the world. I’m grateful to the University of Delaware Graduate student travel grant for covering my travel expenses to attend the conference.

The 12th NCEE provided great exposure to the latest research findings in seismic hazards and protection around the world. In addition, I reconnected with friends that I made through the Fulbright program (2017-2019) sharing similar research interests. Having my Ph.D. program focused on machine learning applications in earthquake engineering and low-cost seismic structural health monitoring, the conference allowed me to network with experts to discuss my work to get some feedback.  

Encouraged by my advisor, Prof. Monique Head, to engage more in Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), I applied and was awarded the EERI travel grant. As a result, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the registration desk. Opposite to my expectation, the registration desk uncovered a great opportunity to meet top-tier professionals in a pleasant informal environment. Working with other volunteers; from young faculty members, shaped my perspective for the upcoming future, and helped establish my network among the future leaders in my field. Additionally, I was invited to the “Meet the leaders” event, at which I had discussions with popular figures in earthquake engineering including researchers, practitioners, and founders of mega firms.

Finally, I joined a tour of the famous Salt Lake Utah Temple undergoing a unique base isolation project. The work aims to retrofit the historical building with base isolation that will allow the monument to move slightly during earthquakes, dissipating the seismic energy and keeping occupants safe. I also got to know more about the Temple’s historical significance, and enjoy Utah’s extraordinarily beautiful scenery and the unique salt flats.

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