We are proud to congratulate Portland State University Civil & Environmental Engineering PhD student Kayla Sorenson, who has been awarded the 2023 Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship presented by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Kayla is also the recipient of the 2023-2024 fellowship for Earthquake Risk Mitigation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). She has served on the EERI's Student Leadership Council since 2020, serving as co-president last year. Kayla is also involved in the EERI PSU student chapter, attending multiple outreach events aimed at strengthening the ties between the community, industry professionals, and local government officials. Additionally, she received both a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Portland State University. Her work focuses on the liquefaction susceptibility of fine-graned soils using the emerging method of microbially induced desaturation (MID).
Liquefaction is detrimental to transportation infrastructure, and many of the oldest and most vital transportation lifelines were built on vulnerable soils. While existing mitigation methods are costly, newer techniques like MID show promise by using bacteria to release gases that stabilize the soil. Kayla's ongoing research aims to determine the necessary desaturation levels in non-plastic and low-plastic soils to effectively mitigate liquefaction risk.
The Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program advances the transportation workforce by helping to attract the nation's brightest minds to the field of transportation, encouraging future transportation professionals to seek advanced degrees, and helping to retain top talent in the U.S. transportation industry.