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Civil engineers to honor NJIT's Priscilla Nelson for research

Priscilla P. Nelson, PhD, professor in the NJIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will receive a notable civil engineering award next month as a leader of the design and construction industry who has improved peoples' lives around the world. At a special reception in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2011, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will award Nelson the 2011 Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research.

"In selecting you for this award, the selection committee particularly noted your visionary leadership in the development of innovative research and education programs," said Patrick J. Natale, ASCE Executive Director.

Nelson, who served as NJIT provost from 2005-2008, has a national and international reputation in geological and rock engineering and the particular application of underground construction. She has over 20 years of teaching experience, has mentored many students, and has more than 120 technical and scientific publications to her credit.

Her previous experience includes 11 years at the National Science Foundation (NSF) concluding her service as senior advisor to the director of NSF. During her time at NSF, she acted in many capacities, including program director for the Geotechnical Engineering program, director for Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education Program, director of the Civil and Mechanical Systems (CMS) Division, and as program manager for the NEES (Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation). She received the NEES Community Visionary Award in 2005.

Nelson was appointed to the faculty in civil engineering at The University of Texas at Austin from 1983 through 1996, rising from assistant through associate and full professor ranks. She was elected to The Moles, an association of the heavy construction industry (1995), and inducted into Tau Beta Pi as an Eminent Engineer (2007). At the NSF she received the Director's Award for Integrative Collaboration four times, and she received the Director's Award for Meritorious Service in 1997. In 1999, she was appointed to the Senior Executive Service. Also in 1999, she received the Director's Award for Superior Accomplishment from the NSF. In 2008, she received the Kenneth Andrew Roe Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies, and was honored in the Executive Women of New Jersey (EWNJ) Salute to the Policy Makers. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Rock Mechanics Association, Distinguished Member of ASCE, and Honorary Diplomate of the Academy of Geo-Professionals. Nelson currently serves on the National Academy Committee on Underground Engineering for Sustainable Urban Development, and as an Advisor to the National Academy's Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society.

Nelson has a bachelor of science degree in geological sciences from the University of Rochester, and master's degrees in both geology (Indiana University) and structural engineering (University of Oklahoma). In 1983, she received her PhD in geotechnical engineering from Cornell University.


Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
New Jersey Institute of Technology

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