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Engineering students building toward earthquake summit

A photo of the decorative stone entrance to the UBCO campus.

A group of UBC Okanagan School of Engineering students are fundraising to reach the World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Milan, Italy, this summer.

A dedicated group of engineering students at UBC Okanagan is willing to move heaven and earth to reach the World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Italy this summer.

The students belong to UBCO's Advanced Structural Simulation and Experimental Testing Group (ASSET) in the School of Engineering, which is guided by Associate Professor Dr. Lisa Tobber. They're eager to present alongside Dr. Tobber in Milan, but need financial support to do so.

"ASSET is looking to challenge and expand the current understanding of earthquake engineering," says Mahya Moghadasi, a graduate research assistant. "Each contribution to the journey is more than just financial support; it invests in safer, more resilient communities worldwide."

It's also a personal journey for Moghadasi, who experienced a 6.3 Richter earthquake as a high school student growing up in Iran. Like her classmates, she arrived at UBCO to further her understanding of how we can make buildings safer during natural disasters.

"That moment was a turning point," she says. "The earthquake was a terrifying experience. The ground shaking left me feeling afraid and vulnerable. As we evacuated our apartment, I recall vividly questioning the structural integrity of the buildings around me amid the uncertainty of the situation."

Nations in the region from Turkey to Iran straddle significant tectonic plate boundaries and have experienced some of the most devastating earthquakes in human history; however, ASSET's research projects are widely applicable and can inform disaster resiliency and modern construction policy from Vancouver to Venice.

Vancouver, for example, rests near the Cascadian Subduction Zone and is especially susceptible to earthquakes.

The conference is a vital opportunity for ASSET to share its innovative approaches with the international engineering community. ASSET aims to convene a session at the Milan conference about cost-effective resiliency solutions in reinforced concrete structures.

Dr. Tobber is convening a technical session at the conference with a focus on recent advances in cost-effective resiliency solutions for earthquake engineering. She's to cover economic and sustainability considerations of innovative techniques for seismic resilience.

The session would allow ASSET to demonstrate how seismic safety can be achieved more affordably, Moghadasi says. As the conference date approaches, the group's participation hinges on the support of donors and sponsors.

"Attending this conference is crucial for us to exchange ideas with the world’s leading experts and bring back knowledge that can benefit British Columbians."

Learn more about the students at crowdfundraising.ubc.ca/projects/ubco-asset.

The post Engineering students building toward earthquake summit appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

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