Dr. Head joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware in 2018. She has more than 16 years of experience in higher education at both research and teaching-intensive institutions. She is the Principal Investigator of the Head Research Group, which specializes in structural engineering with specific emphasis on structural monitoring and evaluation. Dr. Head’s research interests are centered around: 1) bridge evaluation using vision-based measurements, 2) earthquake engineering and the impact of earthquakes on structures, and 3) flood load effects on infrastructure.
She received bachelor and master of civil engineering degrees from the University of Delaware in 2000 and 2002, respectively, and PhD in civil (structural) engineering with a minor in seismology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in May 2007. She is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Concrete Institute (ACI), and serves as Transportation Research Board (TRB) Chair for AKB50 (formerly TRB AFF50): Committee on the Seismic Design and Performance of Bridges. She is also an affiliated member of the University’s Center for Innovative Bridge Engineering (CIBrE), Center for Composite Materials (CCM), and Delaware Center for Transportation (DCT). See Dr. Head’s full CV here.
Shaymaa Obayes started her PhD studies in Spring 2020, returning to the University of Delaware after earning a Master of Civil Engineering (MCE) degree in 2017. She has been employed by the general directorate education of Al-Qadisiyyah, Ministry of Education since 2009, where she work on maintaining existing and demolishing old schools as well as supervising the construction of new schools. She received her BS from University of Al-Qadisiyyah in 2009. She lives with her husband Isam and their two children. Her native language is Arabic. She enjoys cooking and walking in the morning.
Sajjad Safari is currently a Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran in the Summer of 2015 as a talented student. Directly after that, he started his graduate study by an interdisciplinary subject for his thesis. His research was mainly focusing on tensegrity bridges and evaluating these structures performance susceptible to progressive collapse. In the summer of 2014, he worked in Sazian Consultant Engineers as a designer of runoff collection systems for grade separations, bridges highways, and urban areas of Tehran. From 2018 to 2020, Sajjad worked with three Architectural Design Studios as their Structural Designer, working on different types of projects including steel and concrete structure design, structural rehabilitation for interior design, and a timber pavilion. He is now a member of the Tehran Construction Engineering Organization. His academic interests include bridge engineering, innovative structures, architectural technology, and structural analysis. As for leisure activities, Sajjad is interested in photography and filming, music, swimming and soccer.
Qozeem Abiona earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 2019. He proceeded to work as a graduate engineer at Jefcon & Associates Ltd. His responsibilities included the design of buildings and storm water management structures. Qozeem also worked as a project engineer to oversee the design and construction of petroleum product retail outlets at Matrix Energy Group. He is currently a master’s student and graduate research assistant in the Head Research Group, working on a UTC project titled, “Determination of Bridge Element Weights based on Data-driven Models,” which is a collaborative project between UD and West Virginia University. Qozeem loves to play and watch soccer games in his leisure time.
Waqas Iqbal began his doctoral studies at UD in Spring 2023. He completed his master’s in structural engineering in 2016 from NUST, Pakistan and bachelor’s in civil engineering in 2013 from UET Taxila, Pakistan. He had been working in the construction industry on different infrastructure projects including hydropower, highway, building and bridge projects in Pakistan. He also worked on design and MOT studies of ODOT bridge projects in OHM Advisors in Ohio, USA. He has research interests in bridge inspections and monitoring using digital image correlation and creating digital twins. He has a passion to bring artificial intelligence (AI) into structural engineering and work on some AI-enabled structural products/tools to predict the structural performance of buildings and specifically bridges. In the long-term, he is passionate about opening his own firm that will be able to bring new AI innovations in structural engineering solutions and will be involved in robust inspections of tall buildings and bridge structures. Apart from work, he is very fond of walking, biking, playing badminton and learning tennis.
Kenneth (KJ) Olsen is currently a master’s student in the Head Research Group as of June 2023. Previously, he was an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware (UD) as a Chair’s Undergraduate Research Fellow since Summer 2021, where he started his research journey as a CIAMTIS REU Program participant at UD. He received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in May 2023 with 2 sustainability minors. KJ is also collaborating with Prof. Suresh Advani, Unidel Pierre S. du Pont Chair of Engineering, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UD. He will be working on the effects of recycled plastics embedded in concrete and the effects of salinity on the deterioration of concrete.
Postdoctoral Associate & Visiting Scholar, Dr. Hasan ULUS completed his undergraduate education in 2011 in Mechanical Engineering Department at Selcuk University and received his MSc degree also from the Mechanical Engineering Department at Selcuk University in 2014. Then joined as a lecturer in the same university. He worked his PhD in 2019 from Mechanical Engineering Department at the Konya Technical University in the fields of mechanical performances of nanoparticle modified FRP composites under seawater environment. In 2022, he joined Sabancı University, Composite Technologies Center of Excellence as a visiting fellow. Dr. Ulus’ research areas are, synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles, nanoparticle modification of FRP composites for multifunctional properties, mechanical performances of adhesively / mechanically jointed composites. He is now a post-doc researcher in the University of Delaware. He will be studying on the ultra-high performance concrete structures reinforced with recycled FRP particles. In his free time, he interested in playing music, swimming and travelling.
Piero Caputo joined the Head Research group in 2023 as a PhD student. In 2015 he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from PUCMM, Santo Domingo. Since then, he has been working at Haiku Corp, assessing the structural reliability of existing telecommunication towers and their building foundation systems. In 2018 he earned his Master’s degree from Utah State University. His research focused on the live load performance of steel bridges, for subsequent development of fatigue models. During his academic training, Piero worked at AQUAFIN consulting in nationwide projects involving fast-paced bridge deck repair and the repair of concrete structures. In 2020, he started an academic position at PUCMM. He lectured in Civil Engineering Materials, Steel and Concrete Design and advised Senior Design Projects. Piero is a faculty advisor to the ACI-PUCMM Student Chapter and founder of the ACI Dominican Republic Chapter. Piero also enjoys the outdoors, anything involving the beach and playing tennis.
Jeremiah Dzeble is a doctoral student in the Head Research Group as of Fall 2023. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at KNUST, Ghana in 2021. His undergraduate research involved the use of the Decision Trees machine learning algorithm in predicting the failure modes of spiral reinforced-concrete columns. He then continued to work as a Teaching/Research assistant at the Civil and Construction Dept. of AAMUSUTED – Kumasi, Ghana. He is currently a graduate research assistant in the Head Research Group working on a project titled, “Advanced Imaging for Roadbed Condition Monitoring and Assessment.” Jeremiah loves to take walks and has strong music interests.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHERS – Chair’s Fellows
Annabelle Dorsett is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware and plans to graduate in May 2024. She graduated from Northern High School is Maryland. She is interested in sustainability topics and coastal resiliency. She was a previous intern with Penonni, which is an ENR Top 500 consulting engineering firm. Annabelle was a Chair’s Fellow during the Spring 2023 semester and is working on coastal resiliency and monitoring of infrastructure impacted by sea level rise and compound inundation. Annabelle also serves on the executive board for the UD Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
Matthew Albanese is currently an undergraduate civil engineering student at the University of Delaware, and plans to graduate in May of 2024. He is currently exploring interests in sustainability applications in infrastructure and structural engineering. Matthew has almost two years of experience as a traffic engineering intern at KMJ Consulting Inc., in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Matthew is also currently serving on the executive board of the UD Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and a member since 2021. He has been a member of the UD Chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) since 2020. Matthew’s research involves investigating the impacts of sea level rise and saltwater intrusion on coastal infrastructure. Matthew was a Chair’s Fellow during the Spring 2023 semester.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHERS – Past Chair’s Fellows
Madison Gac is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware and plans to graduate in May 2023. Post graduation, she plans to earn a master’s degree in structural engineering and pursue a career in the field of bridge engineering. She is interested in sustainability, especially surrounding what Nordic countries have accomplished so far. She is a member of the University of Delaware’s student chapter of ASCE, and enjoys watching and playing lacrosse, playing videogames, going to the gym, and collecting rocks and minerals. She has been actively involved in the UTC project titled, “Optimized performance of UHPC bridge joints and overlays,” and has been diving into sources to gather more information on the life-cycle costs of the materials. Madison started a new project related to infrastructure and coastal resiliency as a UD Summer Scholar for Summer 2021 and continued to work on it as a Chair’s Fellow until she graduated in Spring 2023. Madison is now employed with Penonni.
Spencer Toth is a sophomore at the University of Delaware with majors in Environmental Science (BS), with a concentration in Eco-science, and Biology (BS). She is a part of the Honors
College, as well as the World Scholars Program where she spent the spring semester of her freshman year in Madrid, Spain studying at the Madrid Campus of St. Louis University. At UD, she is a Club Coordinator for the Students for the Environment (S4E) club, where she helps lead and plan meetings and events focused on environmental advocacy and education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and staying active, such as by playing on the Intramural Volleyball team.
Chris Metzler was a Chair’s Fellow during the Spring 2022 semester. Chris is from Horsham, PA and is studying civil engineering with a minor in business administration. After graduation, he would like to continue pursuing a career in structural engineering. Outside of classes, he enjoys painting, playing basketball, and rock climbing.
Head Research Group Alumni
Dr. Wael Aloqaily, joining HGA soon, began his doctoral program in Spring 2019 and graduated in Summer 2023. His dissertation was titled, “Simplified Feed Forward Neural Network Approach for Seismic Performance Prediction.” He completed his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan in 2014. Next, he worked as a Structural Design Engineer with Dar Group, Amman Jordan from 2014 to 2017. During this period his work included concrete structural design for different types of buildings as well as water and earth retaining structures. In 2017, he was nominated to Fulbright Program for Foreign Students and was awarded a scholarship to get his master’s degree from University of Delaware, Newark DE. His master’s thesis considered linear time-history analysis of structures subjected to earthquake load. His passion in dynamics of structures continues to steer his PhD program. On a personal note, Wael enjoys traveling around, swimming and is a good cook.
Luke Timber was a graduate research assistant in the Head Research Group at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College in the Spring of 2017. From 2017 to 2019, Luke worked in the Greater Philadelphia area as a Structural Designer, working on the development of urban and rural highway/transportation projects with structural elements such as bridges, box culverts, retaining walls, and moment slabs. His academic interests include bridge engineering and structural analysis. Luke holds an Engineer in Training (EIT) certification from the National Society of Professional Engineers and is a member of the South Jersey Section of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE). Outside of academia, Luke enjoys tennis, running, yoga and cheering on his favorite Philadelphia sports teams. His master’s thesis was titled, “Live Load Distribution and Evaluation of Bridges Using Digital Image Measurements.” Luke is currently employed with Hardesty & Hanover in NY as a Bridge Designer 3.
Tyler DuBose was a master’s student and graduate research assistant at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware in the Head Research Group. Born in Christiana, Delaware and raised in Reisterstown, Maryland, Tyler completed his primary education in the Reisterstown area. He received his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in the spring of 2020, participating in organizations such as R.I.S.E. and ASCE’s student chapter at the University of Delaware. His academic interests include building design and sustainable practices. Outside of school, Tyler enjoys baseball, traveling, music, videogames, and surfing the world wide web. Tyler graduated in May 2022. His thesis was titled, “Structural Performance Verification of Structural Pipe Liners for Corrugated Metal Pipes.” Tyler is currently employed with VHB as a Structural Designer.
Tyler Dennis was a master’s student and graduate research assistant at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. He is originally a resident of Newark, completing his primary education in Newark and Wilmington, Delaware. He received his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Delaware in the Spring of 2017. From 2017 to 2019, Tyler worked in the Greater New York City area as a Civil/Site Engineer in the commercial and residential development industry. His academic interests include bridge engineering and sustainable infrastructure. Tyler holds an Engineer Intern (EI) certification from the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers (DAPE) and is a member of the Delaware Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Outside of academia, Tyler enjoys golfing, snowboarding, and watching his favorite Philadelphia sports teams. His master’s thesis was titled, “Optimized Performance of Ultra-High Performance Bridge Connections.” Tyler is currently employed at HNTB as a structural engineer.
Drew Huffer graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree in May 2022. He is a resident of Williamsport, Maryland where he completed his primary education. Andrew began to explore engineering in middle school and continued to pursue the interest in high school through course work. He began his research in the Summer of 2020 and plans on continuing until graduation. His academic activities included being a Malawi Project Manager for Engineers Without Borders and running for the Club Track and Field Team. His other interests included sustainable development, bridge engineering, and natural disasters. Drew had an internship for the Summer 2021 and returned in the Fall 2021 semester to pursue another research topic; he was the recipient of the Chair’s Fellowship for several semesters.
Catie Carton graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree in May 2022. Catie is from Rutherford, NJ. Her research involved truck platooning and its effects on bridges. Specifically, she evaluated extreme conditions caused by autonomous truck platooning and extreme events to ensure safe infrastructure. During Winter Session ’22, she interned with a mentor who primarily designs bridges. She enjoys playing soccer and softball when time permits, but also enjoys some down-time watching her favorite shows–Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders. Catie currently works in NYC as a structural engineer.
David Bydalek graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2020 with his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree. He is a resident of Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he completed his primary education. David expressed interested in engineering at a very young age, with math being his favorite subject and having a fascination of bridges. David began conducting research with the Head Research Group in the Spring of 2019 on the UTC project titled, “Bridge Load Rating and Evaluation Using Digital Image Measurements.” His academic interests include bridge engineering, sustainability, and structural engineering.
Joey Wham was an undergraduate researcher as a participant in the 2021 CIAMTIS REU Program. Joey conducted research on truck platooning and its live load effects on bridges. Joey graduated with a BCE from the University of Delaware in May 2022.
Victoria Dada was a visiting research scholar at the University of Delaware during the summer of 2021. She is now completing her final year of undergraduate studies in the Department of Civil Engineering at Morgan State University, located in Baltimore, MD. During the summer of 2021, she was a RISE participant at Morgan State University and used drones to monitor displacement measurements during a live load bridge test.