Meet the New CEE Faculty

Freddy Paige

Dr. Frederick Paige is joining the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech in the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Clemson University.

Paige’s main scholarship goal is to create the knowledge needed to develop an informed public that lives in a sustainable built environment. Previous work with a variety of utility companies, sustainability non-profits, and educational institutions has provided him with a versatile toolkit of knowledge and skills needed to address a diverse range of civil engineering issues.

His recently completed dissertation explored the potential for high efficiency homes to impact the energy literacy of occupants and visitors. During his time at Clemson, he also conducted interdisciplinary research on improving the opportunity for students to learn in an online environment. He assisted with student perspective on teaching strategies and developed educational media and activities for students of varying ages. He hopes to use this combination of expertise in sustainable infrastructure design and educational research design to develop new methods of teaching sustainable infrastructure.

Outside of the classroom, Paige has worked with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes Resiliency Charrette and spent time in Genoa, Italy conducting an independent study investigating the connection between the use of operational shutters and the user’s understanding of energy.

He has been honored with numerous awards, including the DuBois Pinnacle Award, the Best Diversity Paper by the American Society of Engineering Education, and the Glenn Global Leadership Award.


Alba Yerro Colom

Alba Yerro Colom earned her degree from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain. She received her doctorate in geotechnical engineering and geoscience in 2015 and was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) within the framework of a Marie-Curie European project.

Yerro has actively contributed on the development of the Material Point Method (MPM), which is a powerful particle-based numerical technique specially designed to model large deformation problems in continuum mechanics. In 2016, she was honored with the Telford Gold Medal, which is the highest prize awarded by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) for a published paper, for her research contribution on the development of the MPM to model unsaturated soil behavior. She proposed a three-phase hydro-mechanical formulation, dynamic and fully coupled for MPM, to model the interaction of liquid, gas, and solid in a continuous porous media.

The primary objective of her work is to understand the mechanics of landslides, slope instabilities and dam failures from its initiation to the final runout. She focuses on the study of slopes in soils characterized by progressive failure mechanisms and rapid kinematic responses. Her current interest also focuses on the study of erosion processes that occur in unstable soils. Her expertise in modelling natural geotechnical hazards brought her to work in the modelling of the Oso Landslide, one of the most catastrophic landslides in the US, supporting the expert panel (SR-530 landslide case, State of Washington).

Since 2013, Yerro is a promoter and developer of Anura3D. Anura3D is a software resulting from the cooperation of seven universities and research institutes from Europe and US conforming the MPM Research Community. Anura3D is specially designed to model large deformations and soil–water–structure interaction problems using MPM.


Eric Jacques

Dr. Eric Jacques specializes in resilient infrastructure, specifically blast resistant structures, reliability based structural analysis, and climate change adaptation. He earned all three degrees in civil engineering from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada.

His doctoral research investigated the characteristics of reinforced concrete bond at high strain rates. Currently, his main research is focused on improving the physical security of buildings and critical infrastructure to protect the public against the threat of terrorist bomb attacks and accidental explosions.

He was an inaugural member of the University of Ottawa’s Shock Tube Testing Facility, which involved the initial equipment set-up and commissioning, followed by large-scale laboratory experimental testing of building elements and materials such as retrofitted reinforced concrete slabs, columns, and beams, windows and window anchoring systems, doors, blast curtains, and wooden stud hangers.

Jacques developed an award-winning software tool used by academia and industry to perform inelastic analysis of blast-loaded structures. While serving as an Assistant Research Officer in the Civil Engineering Infrastructure Group for the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, he developed design expressions for structural insulated sandwich panels calibrated to achieve reliability indices consistent with the National Building Code of Canada Limit States Design. He is currently contributing to a $40 million NRC project to establish infrastructure design and retrofit strategies for climate change adaptation. Dr. Jacques also specializes in improving the physical security and resilience of infrastructure, and has worked with various companies and government agencies in the field of protective design to resist the effects of bomb blasts.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he served as a professor at the University of Ottawa.