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Graduate Student Profile
Michelle Riedman

Michelle Riedman

Hometown: Kirkville, NY
Degree Sought: M.S. Structural Engineering
Department: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Chris Letchford and Dr. Michael O’Rourke
Year of graduation: 2013

Undergraduate Education:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
B.S. Civil Engineering (Magna Cum Laude)

Bergmann Associates
Two consecutive summers (2009, 2010)
Civil Engineering Intern working on both site development and structural projects

Bedford Traveling Workshop
10 day interdisciplinary trip to Hamburg and Berlin, Germany to study the links between architecture and engineering

CI of ASCE Student Days Conference and Design Competition
5 day trip to Seattle, WA through ASCE’s Construction Institute
Team Leader for the Heavy Civil Engineering Design competition

Rensselaer Medal Award (Undergraduate)
Graduate Research Assistantship (Graduate)

Why did you choose to enroll at Rensselaer?
I toured Rensselaer during my senior year of high school and immediately knew that it was where I wanted to be. I enrolled as an undergraduate student and loved it here. For this reason, when it came time to apply for graduate schools, staying at Rensselaer was my first choice.

What are some benefits of being part of the Graduate Community at Rensselaer?
The graduate community at Rensselaer is very friendly and welcoming and it is easy to see that students are here because they want to be. Because you share an office/lab with other graduate students in your major, there are a lot of chances for collaboration and teamwork as well as a built in support system should you have any questions or problems. The graduate student council also holds events such as movie nights and pub nights to make sure that graduate school is not solely about doing work.

What would you tell a prospective student about choosing Rensselaer?
Should you decide to come to Rensselaer, you can be sure to have a great experience. In addition to the graduate students being friendly and extremely hardworking, the professors are easily approachable and seem to truly care about a student’s success. (even if the professor is not your advisor and is not part of your research project!)

Describe your graduate research and its purpose/applications?
For my master’s project I am studying wind induced vibrations on traffic signal structures in collaboration with NYSDOT. The vibrations caused by the wind induce stresses and strains on the structure that can in turn reduce the service life of the structure via fatigue. Our goal is to use full scale tests along with finite element computer models to determine the remaining service life of traffic signal structures in New York State.  

What are your plans following graduation?
Following graduation I plan to continue my graduate studies and pursue a PhD in structural engineering.

Professional affiliations:
Student Member of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers)
Member of Tau Beta Pi (National Engineering Honors Society)
Member of Chi Epsilon (National Civil Engineering Honors Society)

What are your hobbies/interests/special talents?
In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano as well as hanging out with friends and family.

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