AUTC 2011 Student of the Year: Travis Eckhoff

December 19, 2011 • Filed under: News,Student of the Year — billy.connor

AUTC is excited to announce the recipient of its 2011 Student of the Year Award: Travis Eckhoff.

Currently pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Engineering (Water and Wastewater Treatment) at UAF, Eckhoff received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 2010.  His current thesis, titled “Determining Dust Palliative Longevity on Gravel Roads and Runways,” stems from research work with AUTC on fugitive dust reduction and palliative performance led by Dr. David Barnes.

His work began in the spring of 2009 on projects looking at reducing dust in rural Alaska. Unpaved runways and roads are pivotal transportation infrastructure in the state’s remote regions, but many of these communities struggle with dust issues that impact quality of life and public health. AUTC and Barnes’ research team have been working with dust reduction palliatives to help address these problems.

Travis Eckhoff: AUTC’s 2012 Student of the Year.

Overcoming environmental and field-based measurement challenges, Eckhoff helped the team develop instrumentation and methodology to determine dust control palliative performance on many unpaved roads and runways. An instrument he helped develop, known as DUSTM, has been used in over thirty remote Alaskan villages to monitor dust palliative performance, and has been featured in past AUTC newsletters (click here to learn more). While other researchers have developed different types of instruments to measure fugitive dust from unpaved surfaces, no one—until now, has developed a repeatable methodology.

Understanding how dust palliatives perform and degrade over time, Eckhoff and Barnes hope to develop dust control strategies to improve local air quality and increase the longevity of Alaska’s gravel transportation infrastructure.

Eckhoff’s professional experience includes work as a Graduate and Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Institute of Northern Engineering and AUTC, and as an Architectural/Engineering Intern with the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s Public Works Department.

His background reflects the UAF Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s emphasis upon both academic and applied engineering. Graduate and undergraduate students alike are expected to develop a combination of theoretical and hands-on technical know-how, making them more effective problem solvers in Alaska’s engineering work force. Eckhoff is one of many who have struck this balance.

Eckhoff will receive a $1,000 Scholarship and a trip to the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 91st annual meeting, January 22-26, 2012. He will also be recognized at the CUTC banquet meeting at the TRB meeting on January 21st, 2012, and will compete for regional awards based on the AUTC nomination.