New faculty, staff join ISU CCEE for fall semester

Chris Day, assistant professor
Chris Day, assistant professor

A new year brings new faces to the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering (CCEE)

Chris Day

Chris Day is an assistant professor of civil engineering at Iowa State University. He is a member of the transportation engineering focus area at ISU CCEE. Day previously worked at Purdue University for nearly seven years as a senior research scientist in the Joint Transportation Research Program. His research background is in transportation operations, with a focus on performance measures for signalized arterials and freeway operations.

Automated traffic signal performance measures, a major product of this prior research, has been widely implemented across the U.S. and internationally, and is becoming a standard tool in modern traffic control. Day’s current research focuses on further applications of new data sets in operations and analysis, with a particular interest in connected and automated vehicles.

He has earned several honors, including multiple Exceptional Paper Awards from the Transportation Research Board Traffic Signal Systems Committee, the Pioneering Innovation Award from the Utah Department of Transportation and a Purdue University College of Engineering Faculty Award of Excellence.

“I’m very excited to be joining the department and to participate in one of the strongest transportation research programs in the nation,” Day said. “Within a few days of working here, I have already been impressed by the quality of the students, the cohesiveness of the faculty and staff and the warm welcome from the university and the community.”

Michael Perez, assistant professor
Michael Perez, assistant professor

Michael Perez

Michael Perez is an assistant professor at ISU CCEE. He belongs to the construction engineering focus area and specializes in improving construction and post-construction stormwater practices, methods and technologies.

“I’m very excited for this new opportunity at ISU and am truly privileged to work with an amazing family of dedicated faculty, staff and exceptional students in the department.”

Perez earned his doctoral degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University. While at Auburn, he conducted research at the Erosion and Sediment Control Testing Facility (AU-ESCTF). There he investigated and improved department of transportation (DOT) stormwater management practices using large-scale testing techniques. Prior to that, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University with a double major in civil engineering and environmental engineering.

He has performed investigations into the application of using unmanned aerial vehicle technology for construction and stormwater inspections. In addition, he has industry experience managing a DOT MS4 program and designing low impact development and green infrastructure stormwater practices for roadway projects.

Cristina Poleacovschi, assistant professor

Cristina Poleacovschi

Cristina Poleacovschi is an assistant professor in the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering. Within the department, she belongs to the construction engineering focus area.

“I am excited to join ISU and to work with such an amazing group of faculty and students,” she said. “I am eager to start my own research group and continue working on addressing social issues through engineering and improving collaboration in construction teams.”

Poleacovschi researches collaboration and knowledge sharing in construction organizations. Her work focuses on the social side of infrastructure and construction. It emphasizes the importance of the cultural and institutional forces that affect people’s experiences in project-based organizations. She is interested in understanding how people collaborate and how micro-level factors (e.g. demographics) and macro-level factors (e.g. governance, leadership) affect collaboration. Poleacovschi is also interested in understanding how infrastructure planning affects social justice in humanitarian contexts (e.g. refugee resettlement) and urban areas.

Finally, she studies gender inclusion by focusing on micro-aggressions in engineering education and organizations. She has experience working for international development organizations and is interested in studying the effects of infrastructure planning on issues of social justice. She is passionate about gender inclusion and has written a children’s book (Elena, the engineer). Her book explores the experiences of young women building and engineering cities.

When she is not teaching or conducting research, Poleacovschi hopes to get outside to explore Iowa by biking.

Ted Huisman, laboratory manager
Ted Huisman, laboratory manager

Ted Huisman

Theodore “Ted” Huisman joins Iowa State as the geotechnical/materials laboratory manager at ISU CCEE. Previously, he worked for Oldcastle Materials as Iowa Q.C. Manager and Le Grand Quarry Manager.

Huisman brings experience in HMA, PCC and aggregate production to his position as laboratory manager. He is especially interested in promoting a safe lab environment for undergraduates and graduate students.

“In order to build a strong safety culture, individuals need to think and pay attention in order to protect themselves at all times,” Huisman said.

In addition to his time at Cessford Construction Company/Oldcastle, Huisman brings 33 years of industrial engineering experience to his role as lab manager. While working in industry, Huisman focused on heavy highway projects. He is a native of Ames and returns now from working in all parts of Iowa for the last 37 years.

Brandi Moormann, academic adviser
Brandi Moormann, academic adviser

Brandi Moormann

Brandi Moormann is an academic adviser of civil engineering students. She works in the ISU CCEE Advising Center on campus.

She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). She earned her master’s degree while also working full time at UNI — first in UNI Career Services, then in the UNI Office of Admissions and finally in the UNI Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. While studying for her master’s, she conducted projects on transfer student experiences.

“ISU has a wealth of resources for its students,” Moormann said. “I look forward to interacting with students, from freshman through seniors, as they find their adventure here at Iowa State.”

Moormann is from the small Iowa town of Hudson. She is especially interested in the topics of diversity and inclusion.

Katie Shields

Katie Shields, academic adviser
Katie Shields, academic adviser

Katie Shields is an academic adviser for the department of civil, construction and environmental engineering and Iowa State University. Her professional background includes work in the areas of academic advising, student organizations, new student orientation and admissions. In her role, she aids students with academic planning, resources and policies.

“I’m looking forward to joining the department of CCEE and seeing students engage in the curriculum inside and beyond the classroom,” she said.

Shields holds a master’s degree in higher education administration and student affairs from Kent State University. She is an alum of Iowa State, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Her professional interests include resume building and reviewing, new student orientation programming and student leadership development. Outside of work, she enjoys baking, cooking, fitness and gardening.

Junzing Zheng

Junxing Zheng is an assistant professor of geotechnical/materials engineering at Iowa State University. He explores fundamentals of particulate materials using advanced computer vision, machine learning, programming, sensor technologies and numerical/physical modeling.

Junxing Zheng, assistant professor
Junxing Zheng, assistant professor

“I was immediately impressed by the Cyclone family,” Zheng said. “I saw a collaborative and productive faculty group, the advanced and comprehensive laboratory facilities, the diverse and inclusive campus and the internally motivated and high ambitious students. I am so proud to become a faculty member of Iowa State’s Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department, which has a long history and legacy of excellence. I am very excited to develop my research group and share my experience with the CCEE family.”

Zheng developed computational geometry techniques for material particle shape analysis and rotational haar wavelet transform for material fabric analysis. Those techniques have been used by many researchers in various disciplines. Zheng attend the University of Michigan, where he earned his doctoral degree in civil engineering. Prior to that, he earned a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from Tongji University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (also from Tongji University). Prior to attending the University of Michigan, Zheng gained four years of industrial experience as a geotechnical engineer.

During his time at the University of Michigan, Zheng earned the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement, the Rackham Pre-doctoral Fellowship and the F.E. Richart, Jr. Fellowship.