Feature Stories

2014 NSF Graduate Fellows

David Teague sitting with another person at construction site with mountains in background

David Teague (left) has collaborated with researchers in New Zealand, France, Italy, and Japan.

Sept. 17, 2014

Three students from the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering were awarded prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) earlier this year.

Fellows receive financial support for three years that includes annual stipends, tuition, medical insurance coverage, and opportunities for international research and professional development. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners;  U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu; Google founder, Sergey Brin; and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.

We recently caught up with the 2014 recipients:


headshot of Gary Gold

Gary Gold graduated from the University of Arizona with a BS in civil engineering and is completing a Master of Science in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at UT Austin. He is advised by Michael Webber. Gary’s research and work as a graduate assistant focuses on the integration of desalination processes and renewable energy sources, specifically wind and solar. He has also authored reports on water-quality effects of a proposed mining site in Arizona, and spent a year as a high school math teacher in Tuscon, AZ. After graduation, Gary plans to pursue opportunities working for local planning agencies and hopes to improve municipal water access while contributing to the sustainable management of water resources in Texas.


photo of Alicia Sendrowski sitting on edge of rocky area

Alicia Sendrowski completed her engineering undergraduate degree at the University of Florida and is completing a Master of Science in Environmental  and Water Resources Engineering at UT Austin. Supervised by Paola Passalacqua, her research focuses on delta restoration in Louisiana’s Wax Lake Delta. Her past research experience includes a project on phosphate removal from synthetic urine and its potential recovery and reuse as fertilizer. As a research assistant, her projects have taken her to Alaska, Costa Rica, and India. Alicia has also worked as a designer, creating a treatment wetland system for a landfills, and as a public health educator in both Austin, TX, and abroad. Upon graduation, Alicia will seek opportunities to assist in coastal remediation projects in developing countries.


photo of David Teague standing on boat with waterfall in background

David Teague received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Northeastern University and is pursuing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering at UT Austin. He has co-authored papers on surface seismic waves and his current research focuses on the creation of more accurate wave velocity profiles. Surface wave testing is a fast and economical technique for characterizing a site's stiffness properties, which control the amplification or attenuation of seismic waves as they travel to earth's surface. He is supervised by Brady Cox. David has worked in the field as an assistant project engineer at the Natgun Corporation and as a co-op in the geotechnical division of GEI Consultants. After graduation, he will pursue academic appointments that allow him to engage in cross-disciplinary research projects aimed at helping society mitigate seismic risk.