Pair Win ASCE Orange County Branch 2012 Awards

Professor Brett F. Sanders and alum Tricia Maruki honored

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Orange County Branch honored Brett F. Sanders, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and Samueli School alum Tricia Maruki, P.E., in February at the branch’s annual awards dinner banquet in Costa Mesa.

Distinguished Engineering Educator – Brett F. Sanders, Ph.D., UC Irvine

Sanders' work is in the area of environmental hydrodynamics and his specialty is numerical modeling of free surface flow and transport in rivers and the coastal zone (estuaries, harbors, and bays). Models of these systems are important for many reasons, such as resolving mechanistic issues, helping to interpret field observations and making predictions about how the system will respond to changes in either the external forcing or the system configuration.

His research group has worked closely with other engineers and scientists to better understand the causes of coastal water quality problems in Southern California and identify cost effective means for improvement.

These models, based on the finite volume method, have been used to better characterize the mixing of ocean water and watershed pollutants within marshes, lagoons and harbors. Model predictions have been used to both test hypotheses about the causes of pollution problems and to suggest alternative hypothesis for subsequent field testing.

He is a recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) and has received grants from several federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation and the United States Geological Survey. His teaching has been recognized with awards from the Samueli School and the UC Irvine Division of Undergraduate Education. 

Sanders first joined the department in 1997 and was appointed department chair in July 2010. He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from UC Berkeley and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan.

Young Engineer of the Year – Tricia Maruki, P.E., AECOM

Maruki graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree from the Samueli School in 2005, and received her professional engineer’s license in 2008. She earned her M.S. degree in civil and construction engineering from Cal State Fullerton in 2009 while working full time at AECOM Technology Corporation.

At UC Irvine, she assisted with research in the lab of Distinguished Professor Masanobu Shinozuka, Ph.D., for two years which allowed her to attend conferences in California and Hawaii. She spent a summer in Japan at Keio University with the Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Japan in Advanced Technology (REUJAT) program, a program initiated to give undergraduate researchers from the U.S. an opportunity to gain international research experience in their chosen field of study. Additionally, she was active on campus as an active member of Phi Sigma Rho, Society of Women Engineers (SWE), ASCE and Tau Beta Pi.

In the past five years at AECOM, Maruki has proven to be a valuable resource in various projects involving drainage and water quality. These projects range from airports, military bases, ports, grade separations and grade crossings.

There is one that project that particularly stands out as an example of her hard work, technical capabilities and willingness to take on challenging design tasks:  the Camp Pendleton Drainage Master Plan. This project, located in northern San Diego County, consisted of providing the base with a plan to alleviate flooding in mission-critical areas within the 250,000 acre base.  She served as the lead drainage engineer, using creative and innovative methods and detailed analyses to provide the client with and optimum drainage solution.

Maruki is currently serving as the ASCE Orange County Young Member Forum president, and is also active in the Orange County chapter of “Engineers Without Borders” as part of the Kenya Water Project and Fundraising Team.