Burçin Becerik-Gerber to Chair the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

| June 28, 2021

Dean’s professor and expert in human-building interaction to begin three-year term July 1, 2021.

Photo of Burcin Becerik-Gerber in white blouse, red earrings

Burcin Becerik-Gerber. PHOTO/JEFFREY FITERMAN.

Burçin Becerik-Gerber has been appointed Chair of the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. A Dean’s Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, she will begin her three-year term July 1, 2021.

Becerik-Gerber is co-director of the Center for Intelligent Environments (CENTIENTS) at USC. Her research focuses on human-building interaction that aims to understand and predict how humans interact with the built environment. She then uses this information to develop novel technologies, interfaces, tools to improve the design, construction, and system intelligence of user-centered environments as well as the human experiences within built environments.

Becerik-Gerber will succeed Fred Champion Estate Chair in Engineering Lucio Soibelman.

Said Dean Yannis C. Yortsos: “I am thrilled to welcome Burcin as the new chair of the Astani CEE department. She will be the first woman chair of this historical department, thus further solidifying the changing face of engineering. I look forward to working with her to further advance the department’s excellence. I am also truly indebted to Lucio for having led CEE over an extraordinary length of three terms, spanning nine years. Under his leadership, the department has flourished by every measure and has been positively and essentially transformed with bright prospects for the future. I am sure that the entire Viterbi community joins me in thanking Lucio for his tireless service and in welcoming Burcin in her new role as chair.”

Becerik-Gerber said: “Our department is on a great trajectory. My goal is to continue bringing the best talent to our department, continue to improve our programs by integrating innovative and cutting-edge advancements in technology and to bring visibility to the outstanding work of our faculty and students.”

Becerik-Gerber is the recipient of several research awards and recognitions, including an NSF CAREER Award, the FIATECH Celebration of Engineering & Technology Outstanding Researcher Award, MIT’s TR35 Recognition, participation in the NAE Frontiers of Engineering program and a Rutherford Visiting Fellowship from the Alan Turing Institute.

In addition, her mentoring and leadership recognitions include the Mellon Mentoring Award and an Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) Fellowship, which speak to her commitment to education and service. Becerik-Gerber has authored/co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed publications, and numerous book and book chapters. She has been elected to be a member of National Academy of Construction in 2021.

Her new role was enthusiastically recommended by CEE faculty, where she has been Director of Graduate Programs since 2017.

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