October 12, 2009

International foundation honors Sanjeev Kumar

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An engineering professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has won an international award for geotechnical engineering.

Sanjeev Kumar, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, won the Shamsher Prakash Award for Excellence in Geotechnical Engineering. The award, given by the Shamsher Prakash Foundation, includes a $1,100 cash prize and a plaque.

With the award Kumar joins the ranks of top geotechnical engineers from the United States, United Kingdom, Korea, Israel and Tunisia who also have received the award.

The Shamsher Prakash Foundation is a non-profit organization. The award honors young researchers (40 and younger) who are specialists in geotechnical engineering and/or geotechnical earthquake engineering. Winners must have significant independent research contributions and show promise of excellence.

The organization cited Kumar’s strong and ongoing commitment to teaching the practice of geotechnical engineering to undergraduate students and his efforts in making a smooth and meaningful transition of young engineers from students to practitioners.

Kumar earned his Master of Science and doctorate at the University of Missouri Rolla in 1993 and 1996, respectively. SIUC named him a full professor and awarded him the title of distinguished teacher in 2006.

Kumar’s career of more than 20 years has included a mix of professional practice with government agencies, consultants and academia. He created three new courses at SIUC and updated four others based on his professional experience. One new course he developed deals with professional practice issues in the geotechnical field.

Kumar also produced two DVDs that illustrate field operations and bring that professional aspect into the classrooms at SIUC and beyond.

Kumar’s research interests include academia-professional transitions, large volume utilization of coal combustion products, dynamic soil-structure interaction, settlement prediction of municipal waste landfills, seismic analysis and design of municipal waste landfills, liquefaction of sands and silts and soil stabilization, among others.