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Lisa extracting a sample

Lisa Gurney

Civil Engineering, Student

What got you started in your engineering research?

When I transferred to BYU as a junior, with an A.S. in mathematics from another school, I began working for Dr. Guthrie as a research assistant at that same time. So far, I have been a part of three different projects in the Materials and Pavements (MAP) Research Group he manages, including taking a lead role in two of those three projects. All of these projects involve extending the life of roads and bridges.


What are some of the projects you have been involved in?

In the MAP group I have done work in the lab and the field testing compressive strength and other properties, measuring asphalt content and particle size distribution of road base material, comparison of asphalt emulsion- and cement-stabilized road bases, tracking of chloride from de-icing salts in bridge decks. I have started turning my findings into technical papers to be submitted for publishing in scholarly journals.
Last summer I was given the opportunity to work with researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. I worked on two projects; the first involved the design and testing of laboratory; the second was all done on the computer. It was fun to multitask and great to work both in the lab and on the computer. I was glad to learn a new program that pertained to a direction I was interested in pursuing in the civil engineering field. 


What have you learned through your experience in engineering?

I know it is rare for undergraduates to be given an opportunity to participate in research, and I am grateful for these opportunities that have given me a better perspective of where I want to go with my education.