Published: June 26, 2024 By

Amy Javernick-Will holding her Pathways award surrounded by two previous recipients of the award.
Amy Javernick-Will holding her Pathways award. She is surrounded by two previous award recipients, Ashwin Mahaligham, from Indian Institute of Technology Madras (left), and John (JT) Taylor, from Georgia Tech.

Professor Amy Javernick-Will received the Pathfinder award, the highest honor of the Engineering Project Organization Society, at the 2024 Engineering Project Organization Conference held June 11-14 in Bar Harbor, Maine.

The award recognizes significant contributions with lasting impact. Javernick-Will's research aims to improve how communities, especially those lacking resources, can better handle disasters and sustain their infrastructure, such as housing, water and sanitation.

“The award was a wonderful surprise,” said Javernick-Will of CU Boulder’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering. “Seeing my expanding academic family in the audience, I was overcome with emotion both for the support I received to pursue an unconventional research path focused on societal impact, and the tremendous work that my students and their students are doing to ensure positive infrastructure outcomes.” 

Positive infrastructure outcomes can include infrastructures that are resilient to natural disasters, minimize environmental impact and are beneficial to all segments of society, including marginalized communities.

Adding to her emotion, Javernick-Will's academic advisor, Emeritus Professor Raymond Levitt, a civil and environmental engineering professor from Stanford University, was among the first recipients of the Pathfinder awards, and her co-advisor, Emeritus Professor W. Richard Scott, a sociology professor, also from Stanford, received the award concurrently with her.

At CU Boulder, Javernick-Will leads the Global Projects and Organizations Research Group, which is composed of boundary spanners—individuals who work across different disciplines, integrating social sciences and engineering–to address complex problems and achieve beneficial community outcomes.

The Engineering Project Organization Society originally focused on studying how engineering projects are organized, managed and executed but has broadened its scope to include understanding and improving the effects of engineering projects on communities and society. This includes ensuring that infrastructure development is equitable, benefitting all segments of the population fairly, including underserved or marginalized groups. 

“This award is a tribute to my academic family—my former PhD students and their students—who are members of the society and are making remarkable contributions worldwide to ensure safe infrastructure services for all,” Javernick-Will added.