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Professor and renowned wind researcher Amal Elawady receives NSF CAREER Award

Professor and renowned wind researcher Amal Elawady receives NSF CAREER Award

February 7, 2022 at 10:00am

Professor and wind researcher Amal Elawady is FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing’s 20th NSF CAREER Award recipient.

Elawady will receive more than $700,000 in the form of an NSF grant earmarked to advance research into the impact of downburst winds — caused by thunderstorms — on building structures worldwide.  

Downburst wind events account for significant civil infrastructure damage and fatalities on a yearly basis in the United States and worldwide. There is a major gap in knowledge, considering that the nature of downbursts and their impacts on buildings are different and more complex than straight-line wind and hurricanes.  

Elawady’s research will focus on increasing the understanding of thunderstorm downburst wind characteristics and the consequent downburst-induced loading on buildings by bridging the global gap between meteorology and wind engineering paradigms.

The researcher will leverage available national and international downburst field measurements through integrated research and educational collaborations with the University of Genoa (UniGe) in Italy and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC) to determine the target range of parameters to inform physical-based simulations of downbursts and their actions on buildings at FIU’s Wall of Wind (WOW) Experimental Facility (EF).

In collaboration with the FIU’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), the CAREER grant will enable international exchange internships for graduate students to empower the next generation of researchers to pursue their next step in academia or in the industry. The multi-disciplinary, metrology and wind and structural engineering, and multi-institution research and educational collaboration comprising this research will offer unique research opportunities for students to engage in state-of-the-art STEM studies at top-notch international institutions.  

Elawady joined the FIU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in 2017 as an assistant professor. She also serves as a fellow of the FIU Extreme Event Institute’s, Laboratory for Wind Engineering Research which houses the WOW EF, a Shared-Use National Facility under the National Science Foundation Program for Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI).

Elawady’s academic background is in the field of structural and wind engineering. Her studies involve large-scale wind testing, wind effects analysis to examine structural response, and assessment of wind actions on buildings and infrastructure and vulnerability of buildings during extreme windstorms. She received her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from The University of Western Ontario in 2016. Her doctoral research focused on studying the behavior of power line structures under downburst windstorms. The results of her research have had a significant impact on modifying the ASCE-74 guidelines through a set of design recommendations.  

Elawady is a co-author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings in her field. The ground-breaking work that she has produced, together with its industrial impact, is reflected through the several prestigious awards she has received. Some of these include the distinguished Alan Davenport Award for Excellence in Wind Engineering; the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers (CSCE) Best Paper Award; and the O.H. Ammann Fellowship from the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE). These achievements recognize the work of Elawady in creating new knowledge in the field of high-intensity wind and infrastructure design, and for influencing the codes of practice with new design guidelines. 

Prior to her Ph.D. studies in Canada, Elawady obtained her B.S. and M.Sc. in structural engineering from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt in 2008 and 2012, respectively. 

Learn more about FIU's NSF CAREER Award recipients.