Member Bios for 2016-2017

Member Bios for 2016-2017

MEMBER BIOS (2016-2017):

The 19 current members of the YMPG span the globe, comprised of students, professors, researchers, and practitioners - all with a diverse technical background. Each member is willing to serve as a resource for the younger (and all!) members in our profession, whether you have technical questions, are looking for advice as you start your career, or would like to just be friends. Please read about each member below and see how you may further connect. Also look for us on Geo-World!


Daniel Avutia
Daniel AvutiaDaniel is a Chartered Professional Civil/Geotechnical Engineer with 6 years’ experience in the Infrastructure and Mining sectors. Daniel has excelled in the construction and resources industries with notable achievements such as winning the South African Young Engineer of the Year Award, winning the National Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Young Persons’ Lecture Competition and being selected to represent Africa at the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) RockBowl competition in 2015. Daniel was also a finalist for the prestigious SAICE JE Jennings Best Geotechnical Engineering Publication in 2014. Daniel has presented at International and National Engineering conferences with technical publications on four continents. I can be reached at [email protected].


Ogbodo Munachiso

I am one of the three members from Africa in the young member presidential group (YMPG). I currently work with the department of civil engineering university of Port Harcourt as an academic staff. I also worked on geotechnical projects with a number of consulting teams. I have over 7years experience in geotechnical/structural engineering.

I hold B.Sc in civil engineering from university of port Harcourt, Nigeria. And a master’s degree in structural engineering from university of lagos, Nigeria. My research interest is in the use of artificial intelligence in solving geotechnical and structural problems in civil engineering.

I was opportune to attend the third African young geotechnical engineering conference (3AYGEC’ 12) in Cairo. I’m a member of Nigerian Society of Engineers and also a member of Nigeria Geotechnical Association. I enjoy Soccer and seeing movies. You can contact me at [email protected].

Dalia Ragab

I was born in Cairo, Egypt. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, Egypt in 2004. In 2012, I earned my Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering from the same University. The title of my Thesis was ‘Deep Well Dewatering of Square Areas Enclosed by Impervious Walls Partially Penetrating Unconfined Aquifers’’. The aim of this study was to develop simplified empirical method to calculate drawdown inside supported deep excavations. I prepared my thesis under the direct supervision of both Professors Dr. Marawan Shahien and Dr. Hisham Hafez. Currently, I am enrolled in the PhD program of Cairo University.

After earning my BSc I joined Hamza Associates as design geotechnical engineer and continued working up to 2015. In that year, I joined the Housing & Building National Research Center in Cairo, Egypt. During my practice, I participated in the preparation of geotechnical investigation and recommendations reports for many buildings and important projects.

During my practice and academic involvement, I built interest in many areas in the field of geotechnical engineering including ground water control, stability of slopes, soil hydraulics, and ground improvement. I co-authored many papers from my research in national, regional and international conferences such as 6th International Perspective on Water Resources and Environment, ASCE, Izmir, Turkey, International Conference on Advances in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering 6-9 April 2015, Hurghada, Egypt, 5th international young geotechnical engineers conference (5th Iygec) in Paris and Third African Young Geotechnical Engineering Conference (3AyGEC'12) in Cairo. Currently I am working on a publication in high impact international Journal.

I am a member in the Egyptian Syndicate of Engineers since my graduation. I am also a member in the Egyptian Geotechnical Society, Egyptian Tunneling Society, and International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. I am a member in the ISSMGE'S Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG), a position I have held since February 2016. On the personal level, I enjoy travelling, music, and tennis. I can be reached at [email protected].



Roxana Amini
I was born in Iran. I studied high school in Iran and caame to the UK for University. I studied Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering and graduated in 2009. I continued my studies at University of Birmingham for PhD in Geotechnical Engineering and graduated in 2016. My thesis is titled “Physical modelling of vibro stone column using recycled aggregates”.

I have been working as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer in Amey (Uk) over the past year. I have been involved in a few rail and highways projects since.

I am currently working on Smart Motorway Projects for Highways England, which involves design and construction of highway infrastructure for all lane running to reduce traffic congestion on M1 motorway in England.

I am passionate about ground improvement methods, particularly vibro techniques.

I am a new young member of ISSMGE representing my country, Iran. I travel quite frequently back home to keep up to date with progress of Geotechnical engineering both in academia and industry in my country. If you would like to contact me for further information, please send me an e-mail to [email protected].

Kazunori FujisawaKazunoria FujisawaI am one of three members from Asia in the Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG) and working as an Associate professor at Kyoto University, Japan. I once attended the Seventh Asian Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (7AYGEC-2012) and had a great opportunity to get acquainted with young members working in the same field. My work is mainly focused on soil erosion, such as piping or overtopping failure of levees. The topic is related to soil-water interaction and dynamics of solids and fluids.
I earned Master and Doctor of Agricultural Engineering at Kyoto University in 2008. After that, fortunately I had a chance to work as a lecturer at Okayama University for four and a half years. I moved to Kyoto University in 2012 and now I am serving as the current position For more details, you can contact me at [email protected].

Lucy Wu

lucywuAfter graduating from MIT with a Bachelors of Science and Stanford University with a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering, I started my career as a geotechnical engineer with Arup in Hong Kong. My work is primarily focused on private building developments, mainly on the design of excavations and foundations. I have been involved in the design of several excavation with large unbalanced loads as well as the design of different types of deep foundations. I have also worked on other geotechnical work such as slope stability and natural terrain hazard mitigation. I am a licensed professional engineer (PE) in the State of California. 

This is my second term as a member of the YMPG. In the previous term (2013-2015), I led the Website Task Force and am now serving as a Vice-Chair in this term. I enjoy reading, long distance running, hiking, and traveling in my free time. Feel free to contact me about anything, technical or otherwise. I can be reached at [email protected]


Riley Gerbrant

Riley GerbrantI have been working with the NZGS here in New Zealand, acting as the chair of the Hawkes Bay Branch for 3 years, which has enabled me to help progress the industry in our region and develop our local members. We have been instrumental in working with MBIE to promote the newly launched New Zealand Geotechnical Database. I re-launched the branch 3 years ago when I shifted to Napier from Hamilton, New Zealand, after the branch had been inactive for several years. 

I have also been involved in the NZ geotechnical community, being appointed to the panel reviewing over the past 1.5 years the NZGS Module on Site Investigations for Liquefaction Analyses. I have also helped draft, along with Simon Woodward and Gavin Alexander, a letter issued to MBIE on the behalf of the NZGS community addressing issues observed in the profession regarding the improper use of reports (outside report limitation statements) by other design fields and providing recommendations that could be employed during Council reviews to address these issues. 

I have also been very actively involved in my company’s geotechnical community, with active participation in our Professional Interest Network (PIN) system and being appointed this past year at the Geotechnical PIN Technical Secretary, sitting on a committee of about 10 members company-wide. I have represented the NZ geotechnical community and my company at three NZ conferences over the past several years, presenting two professional papers, one at the NZSEE 2014 conference in Auckland, and one at the ANZ conference in Wellington earlier this year.

I have also been very involved in the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) as the chair of the young members group (‘Engenerate’) in the Hawke’s Bay. I re-started the group two years ago, and have built a great committee that promotes our members and provides events to develop our members. We hold events about 10 times a year, with our best events being professional development speaker nights (where members speak about projects they are currently working on) and a professional recognition seminar series, where members learn about the process of getting chartered and work on putting their portfolios together in a team setting.

I have been actively involved in the engineering and geotechnical community here in NZ, and I take great pride as a professional geotechnical engineer (CPEng). I am actively involved in developing our fraternity and in personal and on-line discussions relevant to our industry. You can contact me at [email protected].

Louis King

Louis KingI am a geotechnical engineer with Golder Associates in Melbourne, Australia and am currently undertaking my PhD at Monash University in the field of ground improvement for road and rail infrastructure built over soft soils. Since completing my undergraduate studies, I have worked with Golder on a range of site investigation, design and construction projects in Melbourne and around Australia. While I still work as often as my research allows, I now find myself travelling to various institutions and facilities for testing, such as centrifuge modelling at The University of Western Australia and neutron imaging at the Bragg Institute OPAL reactor.

I have always been actively involved in my local chapter of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS), having participated in the 10th ANZ Young Geotechnical Professionals Conference in 2014 as well as regularly attending Victorian chapter presentations and meetings. As a member and representative from the Australasian region, I hope to encourage young students and engineers to become actively involved in the ISSMGE. You can contact me at [email protected].


Alison McQuillan

Alison McQullanAlison is a Geotechnical Specialist with Anglo American Coal (Australia & Canada). She has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Geoscience major) and a Masters of Mining Engineering (Geomechanics major). She is currently completing her PhD in probabilistic designs for open cut mines at the University of New South Wales. Alison also has the status of Chartered Professional with the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Registered Professional Engineer in Queensland.

Alison has been working as a geologist and geotechnical engineer in Australia and Canada since 2007. Alison has experience in both site based operational roles and corporate governance roles in opencut coal and iron ore mining environments throughout the Bowen Basin, Darling Downs, Hunter Valley, Western Canada and Minas Gerais.

Interests outside of mine geomechanics include: playing sport, going to the movies and travelling. You can contact me at [email protected].


Aleksandra Chepurnova
Aleksandra ChepurnovaI am a returning member serving as a Vice-Chair of the ISSMGE’s Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG), a position I have since 2013. I am a research geotechnical engineer at Research Institute of Bases and Underground Structures (NIIOSP) in the Department of Geotechnical Analysis and Numerical Methods. Also I am a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering at (NIIOSP). My research involves study of jet-grouted material using physical sample tests, analytical and numerical analysis. My technical duties focus on deep excavation, retaining wall stability, soil-structure interaction, pile foundations, underpinning solutions, numerical modeling, and the expert-advisory activities. Within my national society, I have also been active in younger member activities, serving on the Young Borough within the Russian Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. 

I earned my Master of Engineering degrees in Moscow University of Civil Engineering and am a licensed professional engineer. The concentration for my dissertation is on applying the non-linear Hoek-Brown failure criteria to characterize soilcrete stress-strain relationships. On a more personal level, I enjoy meeting with new people, traveling, Alp skiing, and swimming. 

If you would like to contact me for further information, or just to chat, you can reach me at [email protected].

Will Howlett

Will HowlettI am currently serving as a member on the ISSMGE Young Members Presidential Group (YMPG) and sit on Young Member committees in the UK such as the British Tunnelling Society Young Members (BTSYM). I enjoy lecturing at universities where I have given rock mechanic lectures to Civil Engineering students.

I started my career on site for a tunnelling contractor in the UK where I worked on a new underground system in London. Following this I joined Arup, a design consultancy firm, where I have been a geotechnical engineer working on retaining walls, rail earthworks, highway earthworks, oil fields and rock mechanic projects in the UK, India, Indonesia and Africa. More recently I have moved back to tunnelling where I am working on new high speed rail tunnels in the UK.

I have developed an interest in face stability for open face and TBM tunnels, and I have recently started research on the use of stereonet projections. If you would like to contact me to discuss any topic please feel free to email me at [email protected].

Diana Marques

Diana MarquesI am Diana Marques from Portugal and I am a MSc. graduate in Geological Engineering with a focus on Geotechnical Engineering. I studied at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal. My master thesis was developed within an internship at Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção S.A and it concerns slope stability analysis - a case study about a railway project called Nacala Corridor at Malawi – Africa.  

Currently I am working in Krakow, Poland, at Mota-Engil Central Europe. Since I have started to work at Mota-Engil, first in Portugal and now in Krakow, I had the chance to collaborate with several different projects all over the globe. Currently my work focuses essentially on design optimizations and production support, especially concerning foundations and slopes stability, working closely with our several designers to improve our competitiveness and production efficiency in all the geotechnical issues.

Besides my work at Mota-Engil, I was involved in several extracurricular activities throughout my academic degrees. My involvement in two European Organisations (the European Youth Parliament - EYP and the Board of European Students of Technology - BEST) played an important role in developing my project management and strategic planning skills. For additional information feel free to contact me at [email protected].


North America

Robert Godinez

Robert Godinez

My name is Robert Godinez- I am the United States member of the ISSMGE’s Young member Presidential Group (YMPG). I am currently a Geotechnical Engineer with AECOM in Denver, Colorado, USA. My current technical focus is in the field of water dam and tailing dam engineering. I have also worked on geotechnical projects around the United States in other sectors including transportation, oil & gas, chemicals, buildings, mining, and tunneling.

I hold a BS in Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering Specialty) from Lamar University and a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Geotechnical Engineering Specialty) from the Colorado School of Mines.

Outside of work, I really enjoy soccer, hiking and camping, and mountain biking in the Rocky Mountains. I can be contacted at [email protected].


Alejandro Martinez
Alejandro MartinezAlejandro Martinez is a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also obtained his Ph.D. and Master’s degrees from. His doctoral research focused on the optimization of soil-structure interface capacity under axial and torsional loading conditions. His research interests cover the broad topics of sustainability and resiliency in geotechnical engineering by means of the development of innovative infrastructure systems and site characterization tools. Alejandro’s current research is focused on developing bio-inspired foundation systems. In his free time, he enjoys reading all kinds of books, listening to music and traveling. You can contact him at [email protected].

Julian McGreevy
Julian McGreevy
I am currently serving as a member on the ISSMGE’s Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG), a position I have held since 2013. I am geological engineer working for BGC Engineering in Vancouver, Canada. I have worked predominantly on dam construction and mine site closure projects since joining BGC with a particular emphasis on oil sands closure and reclamation. 

I earned my Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Geological Engineering at the University of British Columbia and I am currently an engineer in training and a geoscientist in training. I am interested in mine geotechnique, mine remediation, and dam design and construction and hope to broaden my geotechnical experience over the next 5 years. I also personally enjoy taking advantage of the recreation options in the ocean and the mountains around Vancouver. If you would like to contact me for more information or to talk, you can reach me at [email protected].

Jennifer Nicks

Jennifer NicksI am currently serving as the Chair of the ISSMGE’s Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG), a position I have held since 2009 when I was a PhD candidate. I have since transitioned from a student to a young professional. My primary technical duties are as a research geotechnical engineer with the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration in the Office of Infrastructure Research and Development. As part of the Bridge and Foundation Engineering Team, my research focus has been on aggregate characterization, shallow foundations, engineered fills, numerical modeling, scour, load and resistance factor design, and the Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) Integrated Bridge System (IBS). Additionally, I serve on research project panels and technical committees for national and international organizations. Within my national society, I have also been active in younger member activities, serving on the Student Participation Committee within the Geo-Institute of ASCE. 

I earned my Bachelor of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University and am a licensed professional engineer (PE). The concentration for my dissertation was on the bump at the end of the railway bridge, in which I performed a parametric study using finite element modeling (LS-DYNA) and conducted field testing on a mitigation solution at a test site. On a more personal level, I enjoy music, running, and photography. If you would like to contact me for further information, or just to chat, you can reach me at [email protected].

South America

Juan Ayala
ayalaI am currently part of the Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG), where I serve as Secretary since last year. I have my first close with the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) when I was majoring in Geotechnics in 2011. A day before the 5th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering in Santiago of Chile, the ISSMGE president of that time, Professor Jean-Louis Briaud, called for a meeting to the young geotechnical engineers (or project of geotechnical engineers) present at the time, told as about the creation of the group (SYMPG at the time) was with the idea of increasing the attractiveness of the society to the younger generations of geotechnical engineers, and since then, that has always been the scope. Actually, thanks to the ISSMGE Foundation I was able to participate of that conference and present a paper in the International Young Geotechnical Engineers’ Conference in Paris last year, so trust me when I say that the ISSMGE helped me in my development as a professional. I earned my Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering at Catholic University of Concepción with my dissertation of the experimental study of shear waves propagation in granular soils using bender elements in the oedometer equipment. I currently work in the rock mechanics area at Golder Associates Santiago office. In a more personal level I like to enjoy music, gliding and spend time with my 8 year old son. If you want to contact me for further information please send me an email to [email protected].

Marcelo Llano Serna

Marcelo Llano SernaMarcelo Llano Serna is a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Geotechnical Engineering Centre at The University of Queensland, Australia. Member of Geotechnics group in the graduate program at University of Brasilia, Brazil and Civil Engineer from the Faculty of Mines at The National University, Colombia. His experience and previous research involve large strain simulations such as the run-out process in landslides and fall cone tests using the Material Point Method. His experimental background is linked to remoulded soft clay characterization and advanced shear strength testing in such materials.

If you would like to contact me, you can reach me at [email protected]


Mario Terceros

Mario TercerosIn May 2015, I have participated in the “2do Congreso Internacion de Fundaiones Profundas de Bolivia” (2nd CFPB) as a member of the organization board and field expositor. At that time, I realized the scarcity of engineers interested in Geotechnics, but also realized the thirst of knowledge and curiosity of the young students a engineers, which motivated me to get involved with the ISSMGE. This year (2016) will be my first year serving the ISSMGE’s Young Member Presidential Group (YMPG), a role I will enjoy with a lot of enthusiasm.

I earned my Bachelor of Science in the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM, Mexico) in 2013. During a one year exchange program in the Technical University of Munich, my interest on Geotechnical and deep foundation engineer woke up. I took all the geotechnical courses of the program and afterwards I prolonged my stay in Germany in order to make an internship in BAUER Gmbh. Currently I am MSc. student in the Universidad San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca, Bolivia, while working in a foundation Engineering Company. My research focuses on the design of piled raft foundations for high-rise buildings and its economic benefits, focusing specially on the effect that the pile installation technology has (Expander Body on the toe of the pile, Drilled displacement piles and traditional cased bored piles) on the piled raft load-settlement behavior (“capacity”). 

Personally I enjoy outdoor sports like mountain biking, running, climbing. If you would like to contact me for further information write me at: [email protected].