For Immediate Release

March 25, 2006
Contact: Holly Baker
Phone: (609) 485-6253


EGG HARBOR TWP., N.J. – A University of Illinois doctoral student who is conducting important airport concrete research is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Transportation Centers of Excellence “Outstanding Student of the Year.”

Zachary Grasley, a civil engineering doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), has been named a recipient of the prestigious award, given by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration. The award will be presented at the upcoming Centers of Excellence Fifth Annual Joint Meeting.

Grasley works with the FAA’s Center of Excellence for Airport Technology. He is researching the behavior and characteristics of concrete when used in airport pavements and structures. His work has contributed to the Center’s project on moisture curling of concrete slabs for airport pavements. He has helped identify basic driving forces behind the shrinkage of concrete and measurements of gradients that create curling of slabs.

“Zachary Grasley is an outstanding engineer and practitioner,” said Patricia Watts, Ph.D., FAA Centers of Excellence Program Director. “His talent, enthusiasm, and creative approach to civil engineering materials research make him a strong asset to the FAA’s Airport Technology and Centers of Excellence programs.”

Grasley has maintained a near perfect grade point average throughout his academic career and has authored seven archival journal articles, many conference and magazine articles and a book chapter. He has presented his research at more than 10 national and international conferences.

He served as the 2005 president of the Airports Council International-UIUC student chapter, and has received many honors. These include: the 2004 Dwight David Eisenhower Graduate Transportation Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Travel Fellowship for the 5th International Ph.D. Symposium in Civil Engineering at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands, and the 2004 Harvey Hagge Concrete Scholarship at UIUC. Also, he was awarded a $20,000 Portland Cement Association fellowship for his proposal to develop an internal relative humidity sensor that could be used in concrete, in 2002.

Each year the DOT honors the most outstanding students from its participating university transportation centers for their achievement and promise for future contributions to the transportation field. Students are selected for the honor based on the technical merit of their research, academic performance, professionalism, and leadership.

The FAA’s Centers of Excellence Program is based at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, near Atlantic City, N.J.

###