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Learning Challenges and Opportunities from Seismic Retrofit Capstone Projects

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1063.1 - 26.1063.15



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Paper Authors


John Paul Smith-Pardo Seattle University

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Paul received his BSCE in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and MSCE and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University. Prior to joining Seattle University in 2010, Paul worked for five years as a consultant and as part-time instructor/adjunct professor at Purdue and the University of Washington.

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Katie Kuder P.E. Seattle University

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Nirmala Gnanapragasam P.E. Seattle University

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Learning Challenges and Opportunities from Seismic Retrofit Capstone ProjectsCivil and Environmental Engineering students at our institution are required to complete a three-quarter capstone project that is team-based and industrially-sponsored under the supervision of aliaison engineer from the industry and a faculty member. These projects offer studentsexceptional opportunities to apply concepts from analysis and design classes to find solution toreal-world problems. During the last four years student teams have completed four seismicretrofit projects of different type and complexity levels. Benefits that are particularly unique tothese projects include direct application of design principles, exposure to specialized structuralsoftware and seismic assessment/retrofit standards and codes, and the use of visualization toolsto convey solution schemes to clients. During the execution of the entire project students arechallenged to learn fundamental concepts of earthquake engineering without having any formaltraining on the subject. In addition, they have to adhere to a standard seismic assessment codeand produce reasonable solutions that could be constructible in practice. Because these issues gobeyond the knowledge and experience that a typical undergraduate education can offer, closecollaboration and mentoring by faculty and industry liaisons are critical to the project success.This paper presents an overview of four seismic retrofit capstone projects and describes thestudents’ experiential learning together with results from assessment surveys.

Smith-Pardo, J. P., & Kuder, K., & Gnanapragasam, N. (2015, June), Learning Challenges and Opportunities from Seismic Retrofit Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24400

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