The Council on Undergraduate Research selected Elizabeth Godfrey of Norfolk, Va., a senior majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, to present her research at Posters on the Hill on April 23-24 in Washington, D.C.

Godfrey’s research project title is “Site amplification in the Washington, D.C., area during the 2011 Virginia earthquake.” Her faculty mentors are C. Guney Olgun, research assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and James R. Martin, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Institute for Disaster Risk Management at Virginia Tech. 

A student from Washington and Lee University, Mohamad S. Amine, also worked on the team.

The project investigated the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake that occurred in Virginia. Its epicenter was about 80 miles southwest of the nation’s capital, but was still strong enough to cause damage to landmark structures such as the Washington Monument. The team found that the unique geology in the Central and Eastern United States and the sharp shear wave velocity contrasts in the District of Columbia resulted in significant amplification of ground motions not accounted for in the building codes. 

In addition, the team found the nation’s capital is more vulnerable to earthquake hazards than expected.

The Council on Undergraduate Research received more than 800 applications for this year’s Posters on the Hill event. Godfrey is among the 60 students who were invited to present their research at the Posters on the Hill event. Last year’s poster presentations attracted members of Congress and Congressional staffers. Invited students also are encouraged to schedule meetings with their state’s senators and representatives to discuss the importance of undergraduate research.

Students interested in learning more about programs and resources at Virginia Tech that support undergraduate research, visit the Office of Undergraduate Research’s website.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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