Joseph Diekfuss, Ph.D.

Joseph Diekfuss, Ph.D. student

Joseph is a fourth-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in structures. He initially became interested in engineering in high school while spending his summers working in construction. During his time in construction, he often found himself in the middle of large civil engineering projects and wanted to play a more instrumental role in them in the future.

Joseph has attended MU since August of 2009. In addition to completing graduate courses, he has been working on research that involves developing a reliability-based fatigue assessment for sign-support structures. These are structures we either drive by, or under, on a daily basis (think highway structures used to support traffic signals and signs for turn lanes). The goal is to preserve the safe use of these structures throughout the transportation infrastructure network. This can be done by coming up with a way to more adequately disperse limited fiscal and personnel resources by providing a systematic and engineering-based protocol for their inspection and maintenance. This research is funded through the Wisconsin Highway Research Program by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Joseph mentioned that he is very fortunate to have an advisor, Dr. Christopher Foley, who emphasizes the importance of “getting your work out there, and seeing what others are doing”.

Within the last year, Joseph has presented some of his research findings at several conferences, including: the ASCE/SEI Structures Congress held in Chicago, IL, the CSCE 2012 – 3rd International Structural Specialty Conference held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the Mid-Continent Transportation Research Forum held in Madison, WI.

June 2013

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