Sustainability and Structure

Graduate student Alvaro Ruiz Emparanza reflects on receiving the first Wulkan Family American Public Transportation Foundation Endowed Scholarship and traveling to New York to meet the Wulkans and immerse himself in the future of public transportation.
Sustainability and Structure
Wulkan Scholarship 2019-2020 Recipient, Alvaro Ruiz

Striving towards sustainable efforts is a popular topic nowadays. Businesses, schools and households alike are working harder on going paperless, using hybrid cars, lightbulbs, even reusable grocery bags.  Sustainability is becoming increasingly noticeable in our daily lives, but have we given thought to how such a concept could be involved in construction? The construction industry has maintained its traditional processes for decades, but Civil Engineering Ph.D. candidate Alvaro Ruiz Emparanza is researching how we can bring sustainable innovations to the overall construction process.

As a civil engineer, Alvaro has been working with composites as substitutions for steel. By replacing the traditional steel reinforcement, corrosion issues would be avoided, extending the service life of these structures. Alvaro’s determination and research led him to receive the very first Wulkan Family American Public Transportation Foundation Endowed Scholarship and have the opportunity to travel to New York to meet the Wulkan family at the Annual Conference of the American Public Transportation Association. “It was incredible to see and take note of the future of public transportation and look at the inclusion of sustainable efforts in infrastructure expansion,” Alvaro states.

Thanks to the gracious hospitality of the Wulkan family, Alvaro was invited to partake in a networking dinner, where he met various executive-level individuals. Alvaro goes on to say, “Sitting at the center of this table, I felt truly a part of the entire conversation and it was an honor to be in that moment among these professionals.” Alvaro’s time in New York left him with newfound ideas on his own research. He hopes his continued efforts will lead to industry innovation. Although the overall construction industry is massive and unwavering, Alvaro seeks to expand knowledge on durable solutions for concrete infrastructure. Alvaro’s continued research would not be where it is, if it were not for the support of his advisors, Dr. Antonio Nanni and Dr. Francisco De Caso, and of course, the Wulkan family.

For more information on the Wulkan Family American Public Transportation Foundation Endowed Scholarship, click here.