Nathaniel Gallishaw, of Seekonk, Massachusetts, has been named a 2018 Falvey Scholar for his work on a project titled “Investigation of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement Properties for Sustainable Infrastructure.” Beyond his studies, Gallishaw works as the treasurer of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and interned at
Gallishaw credits Professor Leslie Myers McCarthy, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Professor Jonathan Hubler, College of Engineering; and Dr. Kristin Sample-Lord, College of Engineering for guiding him to success. He also thanked the students who laid the foundation for his work before him in an interview with Falvey. You’ll find excerpts from that conversation below.
William Repetto: What specific program are you in?
NG: Civil engineering. Yeah, Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, there’s like five different sub-disciplines of civil engineering, so I’ve taken classes in all of them. The one that Dr. McCarthy and I have been working in is mostly transportation, but also some geo-technical aspects as well, and some environmental aspects as well. It’s definitely a multidisciplinary type research project, but I’ve had the class experience in all those different disciplines, so I feel like the program has prepared me well for this.
WR: What led you to choose that major?
NG: Just an interest in the built environment; I was recommended in high school, my guidance counselor said, “you should look into engineering” because I had an interest in science and math, and then when I was looking at the different disciplines of engineering, civil just stood out because of the projects that civil engineers work on. People see those – the buildings and bridges – every day, and just making an impact on people’s lives with the engineering work you do. That really stood out to me.
W: What’s the method for studying as a Civil Engineer, especially with your project on reclaimed asphalt pavement in particular? Do you do hands-on lab work or is it more reading?
N: It was a little of both. At first, it was seeing what research was out there regarding this topic. It’s a relatively new, novel idea, so there was a limited amount. Most of the research done was about using it in new asphalt mixes; using that, they had explored some of the properties of RAP, so a lot of what we did after that review of literature was lab testing just to replicate those studies done, to confirm those values of different quantitative properties, and also to run new tests that can tell us about certain different parameters that those mix designs need to have but may not have been tested before on RAP itself – it’s been tested on other aggregates. So I would say the lab was a good portion of the year, the initial literature review was more to get a background, and then the lab-work was a good part of it.
W: Is the lab work your favorite part?
N: My favorite part was probably just the feeling of contributing something to the base of knowledge – I look at these massive journals with all these articles by PhDs in their fields, and there’s such a vast array of knowledge there. It’s just a very satisfying feeling, to do something novel, as opposed to learning from professors who’ve done their own research on stuff; the conclusions have already been established, it’s satisfying just being able to do something innovative in a sense.
WR: How does this work in particular help your future? Do you plan on going onto a graduate program? Does this help you establish your own practice in the field?
N: At this point, I’m still undecided over whether I’m going to go to grad school, or whether I’m going to work in the industry, but it’s definitely helped in regards to grad school applications. There’s that prior experience that has been very useful in talking to professors, the fact that I have that groundwork in doing lab-work, defining hypotheses, and testing, and that’s been very helpful. For industry context as well, I think it just adds a good diversity of experience because I did an internship last summer, but to have the research as well shows a good variety to show employers.
Article and photos by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.
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