Published: April 29, 2020

Mikaela DeRousseauPhD student Mikaela DeRousseau has received a 2020 Summer Fellowship from the CU Boulder Graduate School.

DeRousseau is in her fourth year at CU Boulder with a focus on civil systems, and expects to graduate in August. Her advisors are Joseph Kasprzyk and Wil Srubar. 

DeRousseau said she is very honored to have received the award. 

“I'm someone who sometimes suffers from imposter syndrome,”  she said. “To receive this award is a nice reminder to keep chugging and have confidence that I am conducting valuable research. I'm also feeling very lucky in these strange times to be able to continue doing my research. The fellowship will enable me to continue conducting research and finish my dissertation this summer after my previous funding from NSF has completed.”

DeRousseau’s research aims to develop a new paradigm for designing sustainable and durable concrete mixtures using multi-objective optimization. They use a concept called “coupled simulation-optimization” in order to computationally simulate concrete properties like compressive strength and embodied carbon dioxide emissions. That allows them to minimize or maximize those properties in order to determine concrete mixture designs that are optimal for a particular application.

“Since concrete and the built environment play such a large role in contributing to global carbon dioxide emissions, I believe the field of civil engineering has a great opportunity to contribute to climate change mitigation,” DeRousseau said. “I hope my work can be used as a decision-making tool and show that we can still meet the requirements for durable building materials, while reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment.”

The Graduate School offers fellowships to doctoral students to provide support during the summer term. The fellowships are for $6,000. Each doctoral program had the opportunity to nominate one student for consideration for the award.