The dream team...

Mr. Qiushi Chen, Ph. D. student

I got my B.S from Shanghai Jiaotong University in China. After spending my first year in USA at Buffalo, I joined Prof. Andrade’s group at Northwestern for my Ph.D study. Now I’m working with Prof. Andrade on our NSF funded project on multiscale random fields.

Evanston is such a great place especially in summer. I love living here. In the spare time, I like traveling, swimming, playing badminton, tennis and basketball.

Mr. WaiChing Sun, Ph. D. student

I am a native of Hong Kong. Before joining Northwestern, I got my undergraduate degree at UC Davis and completed a master degree (geomechanics) at Stanford.  I began my PhD study at Princeton and then transferred to Prof. Andrade’s research group in summer 2008. My research focuses on multi-scale  modeling and bifurcation analysis of geo-material. I also did some work on Lattice Boltzmann methods and earthquake engineering. My published work can be found here.  

My hobbies include playing video games, traveling and model building.

Mr. Ivan Vlahinich, Ph.D. student

After graduating from Columbia University and working in the industry in Europe and the US, I joined Northwestern in the fall of 2004. My studies were initially conducted under the direction of Prof. Jennings and now under the co-advisorship with Prof. Andrade. The primary thrust of my research focuses on developing material constitutive laws that are based less on the empirical methods and more on the true physical mechanisms, with applications to partially saturated materials, including the cement-based materials.

Northwestern is a great place to study not only because of the interdisciplinary nature of much of the research that is performed here, but also because of its proximity to Chicago (where I currently live) and  by extension to all that a true city has to offer. My past-times include a bit of sailing, much of soccer, and travel any chance I get.

Ms. Priscilla C. Fonseca, Ph.D. student

After graduating MIT in 2000 (S.B. Civil Engineering), I worked in California for two years, mostly in the seismic retrofit of structural components (like concrete walls) in the nuclear power industry. Prior to entering a Ph.D. program at Northwestern in 2004, I also received an M.S.E. degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan. In 2005, I joined Hamlin Jennings' group to study the microstructure of cement and in 2008 I officially joined Jose Andrade's group as a joint endeavor.

My hobbies include playing trumpet and piano, wheelthrowing (pottery), traveling, building things with wood, watching science fiction (I love Battlestar Galactica), and learning about architecture and urban planning.

Previous students:

Dr. Xuxin Tu, Post-doctoral fellow

After completing my PhD study with Prof. Finno, I continued to stay at NWU working with Prof. Andrade. My research focuses on developing novel computational tools for modeling geomaterials and grain-based media. I like NWU, where I have been able to collaborate with researchers of different backgrounds in many interdisciplinary projects.

Outside of research, I like swimming, jogging, playing tennis, watching movies... Of course, everyone on this team likes playing foosball too. It has been a ton of fun!

Before I came here, I was a Ph.D candidate in Central South University in China. I majored in Tunnel Engineering for my B.S. and M.A. study there, and have continued to work on Disaster Prevention Science during my Ph.D. I have a long-term interest in soil deformation, analyzing, and controlling. I feel proud to apply mechanics to the supervision of practical projects that I have long been engaged in. Research here is indeed intense, intellectually challenging, and thought provoking. The city life in Evanston/Chicago is an extra bonus.

Upon my arrival, I was so surprised that the average age of this group is not yet 28! It seems that it will be never a dream heading on to top the field of Geotechnics!

Mr. Linchong Huang, Visiting Pre-doctoral fellow

Before joining Prof Andrade’s group, I double majored in Engineering and Economics at Swarthmore College and spent a year in industry working as a geotechnical engineering consultant. My research at Northwestern focuses on constitutive modeling and the prediction of liquefaction of sands. 

When not studying, I play a lot of soccer, bike around Chicago and try to visit all the museums as frequently as possible.  When I get a chance to travel, I spend my time hiking, skiing and mountaineering.

Mr. Kirk C. Ellison, M.S. student

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Dr. Carlos Avila, Post-doctoral fellow

After a wonderful life experience in Japan where I got my PhD and worked in the industry, I joined the research group of Prof. Andrade.  The environment here at Northwestern university is challenging, and gives me the opportunity to explore my capabilities in different areas of research related to the computational multiscale modeling of granular materials.

Chicago is also enjoyable outside of the academics, where especially the summer offers a variety of cultural and other extracurricular  activities. I love music, and sports (tennis, running) and for sure playing with my little son Santiago.

Dr. Nicolas Lenoir, Post-doctoral fellow

I got my PhD from the University Joseph Fourier-Grenoble in France. After post-doctoral stays, first at the University of Kumamoto (Japan) and then, back in my lab in France, I joined Northwestern University for a one-year visit. My research focuses on using X-ray CT for studying localization in geomaterials. More specifically, I develop original experimental set-ups to scan specimens under loading.

When you love food, music, architecture and sailing like me, Chicago is a such nice place to live. My main hobbies are traveling, cooking, concert, skiing and sailing.

Xuxin passed away on September 17th, 2009. He dedicated seven years of his life at Northwestern and contributed tremendously to our group. He was a wonderful person and a great friend of us. 

We will keep him in our hearts forever.