College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Civil engineering student graduates with two awards

Steve Lavrenz, who just earned a master’s degree in civil engineering with a minor in statistics, graduated Iowa State in style this fall. He was awarded both the fall 2011 Iowa State Research Excellence Award and a prestigious doctoral fellowship at Purdue University.

Nominated by CCEE Assistant Professor Dr. Nadia Gkritza, Lavrenz earned the Iowa State Research Excellence Award for his passion of transportation engineering within the context of national infrastructure policy and sustainability. His recent research focused on the economic analysis of automated electric highway systems.

“I hope to identify entirely new ways of thinking about increasing transportation system capacity to stimulate economic growth,” Lavrenz said. He also plans to explore new and more efficient ways of funding current and future transportation systems while reducing environmental damage and fossil fuel energy use.

Lavrenz was one of 29 graduate students across the university to earn this award, but the only awardee from the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

As he transitions to a doctoral candidate, Purdue University welcomes Lavrenz with a doctoral fellowship at its college of engineering. The Purdue Doctoral Fellowship, which he will begin January 3, is given to one PhD candidate in the university’s college of engineering per year. The two-year fellowship includes a $22,000 stipend and full tuition assistance. The remaining two years or so will be aided by a research or teaching assistantship. Lavrenz will begin work under the direction of Dr. Kumares Sinha and Dr. Samuel Labi, each from the university’s school of civil engineering.

At Iowa State, Lavrenz was the president, vice president, treasurer and Engineering Student Council representative for the Transportation Student Association. In 2010-11 he helped lead the group to most outstanding student chapter honors for both the Midwest District and Missouri Valley Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). ITE is an international education and scientific association of transportation professionals who are responsible for meeting mobility and safety needs.

Lavrenz also earned an Iowa State bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2010, with a double major in Spanish and a minor in economics.