The Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) welcomes six new faculty members this fall. Their expertise is at the forefront of their fields, ranging from flood mitigation to construction risk management to dynamic behavior of soils – and beyond.
“Our new class of faculty are poised to make exciting contributions in the classroom and through their research, inspiring the next generation of engineering leaders,” said David Sanders. “We are proud to welcome all six to our department.”
Beena Ajmera, assistant professor, is looking forward to creating an impact in her new position, inspiring the next generation of engineers and researchers inside and outside of the classroom.
“I hope to help them see and reach their full potential, much like some very special individuals did for me when I was a student,” said Ajmera.
Ajmera has previously been an assistant professor at North Dakota State University and California State University, Fullerton.
“My experiences at these institutions have given me the opportunity to develop and hone my teaching style to be an effective educator,” she said.
Ajmera’s specialization is in geotechnical engineering, with interests in geotechnical earthquake engineering, static and dynamic behavior of soils, static, dynamic soil lab testing, fundamental behavior of geomaterials from mineralogical and chemical analyses, and ground improvement techniques and slope stability.
Being new on campus, she is still eagerly learning about the Cyclone traditions we have on campus, but her favorite spot on campus so far is Lake LaVerne.
Ajmera earned a bachelor’s in applied mathematics and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from California State University Fullerton, master’s in civil engineering with a geotechnical engineering emphasis from California State University Fullerton and a Ph.D. in civil engineering with a geotechnical engineering specialization from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Antonio Arenas, assistant professor, is focused on “making an impact through teaching, research and service. It is exciting to know that I will help train the next generation of engineers and contribute to advance our knowledge in the area of water resources.”
Before joining Iowa State, Arenas worked in applied research projects in water resources and interacted with people with diverse backgrounds and technical expertise. His specialties include computational models and performing data analyses.
Early in his career, Arenas worked on computational fluid dynamics, studying flow, temperature and total dissolved gas distributions in hydropower. More recently, he has been evaluating flood mitigation strategies and studying the fate and transport of nutrients.
In only a few months on campus, Arenas has “enjoyed seeing the energy and excitement around campus before home football games.”
Antonio Arenas has a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Iowa, a master’s in water resources engineering and management from the Universität Stuttgart (University of Stuttgart), and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería.
Renee Fleming, assistant teaching professor, is excited to connect with students and help them learn how to think critically about planning and scheduling in relation to construction. Fleming is an Iowa State alumnus.
Fleming has over eight years in the industry as a construction engineer and manager, which helps her apply real-world situations to students in the classroom. She has held various roles in her time in the industry.
“My diverse background as both a contractor and owner’s representative provide a unique perspective that I can share with the students,” said Fleming.
Fleming’s emphasis is in commercial building construction, and within the CCEE department, she’s in planning and scheduling.
Outside of work, Fleming and her family enjoy biking through campus on the weekends and making a stop at the ISU Creamery.
Fleming graduated from the Iowa State construction engineering program with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Lu Liu, assistant professor, is looking forward to conducting cutting-edge research, creating a broader social impact with her work and the collegial environment to work across disciplines.
With over 10 years in research and doctoral and postdoctoral training, she has a deep and broad knowledge of water resources engineering. She held various roles in research, leading a team, being on a team and even doing independent research, dissecting her interests further.
“I believe that being a faculty is an ideal way for me to make a broader impact with my work, and I am thankful for all my past experience that paved the way to where I am today,” said Liu
Having only been at Iowa State for four months, Liu has found the lawn in front of the library to be a great place to relax, eat lunch, and free her mind after a hectic day.
Liu has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Maryland.
Nathan Miner, assistant teaching professor, has a desire for continued growth as an educator and motivating incoming students about engineering.
Miner has real-life experience in the engineering industry, working for Pella Corporation as a project engineer before returning to Iowa State and becoming a graduate research assistant and now an assistant teaching professor.
“Previous industry work experience has helped me see the applications of coursework, which I believe are important for students to understand as well,” said Miner.
Miner’s favorite part of campus is the space between Marston and Beardshear, especially during the fall.
Miner has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and a master’s in civil engineering from Iowa State.
Holly Streeter-Schaefer, assistant teaching professor, brings extensive expertise in working with many different areas of the construction industry on risk management and legal issues.
Streeter-Schaefer specializes in construction law, risk management, and dispute resolution. Her years as a practicing attorney and in-house counsel have prepared her to share knowledge and experience with students.
“Keeping up to date on legal issues affecting the construction industry is important to my practice and being able to share my knowledge and experience with students that will be engaged in the industry is very rewarding,” said Streeter-Schaefer.
As an Iowa State graduate, Streeter-Shaefer loved Greek Week and VEISHA. “The campanile has always been a favorite spot for me.” Her husband is a Kansas State graduate, and they enjoy the rivalry during the fall football season. Streeter-Schaefer also stays busy gardening, cooking and traveling.
Streeter-Schaefer has a bachelor’s in construction engineering and a Juris Doctorate from Drake University.