Jennifer Righman McConnell, PhD, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Delaware, has received the 2007 Robert J. Dexter Memorial Lecture for her research on steel bridge designs.

The award, designed to encourage engineers just starting out in structural engineering, was given by the American Iron and Steel Institute's Steel Bridge Task Force.

“Though early in her career, she has already made a mark on steel bridge design through her research,” says Alex Wilson, chair of the task force.

McConnell's research focuses on the inelastic behavior of steel bridges, as well as the blast resistance of bridges and other civil infrastructure systems. In August, she spoke before the task force on “Rotational Compatibility Approach to Moment Redistribution for Design and Rating of Steel I-Girder Bridges.” In the aftermath of the Minnesota bridge collapse, such research could become increasingly important as national attention on bridges and other infrastructure increases.