Why Georgia Tech: 4 Questions with Iris Tien

Iris Tien is an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. Recently, the Office of Faculty Affairs had the opportunity to learn more about Tien and her time at Tech. Here’s what she said.

Tell us a little about your research.

I develop new ways to model and assess the reliability of civil infrastructure systems, including water, power, and transportation systems. The goal is to help us make smarter decisions in how we design and manage these critical systems, so they perform better under adverse conditions. What can we do, for example, to make sure we can still provide clean water and electricity to people after an earthquake or hurricane occurs?

What made you decide to work at Georgia Tech?

I received my Ph.D. in Civil Systems Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in May 2014. I thought long and hard about where I wanted to go next. I even had a spreadsheet that listed different factors — potential collaborations, funding sources, quality of students, location, etc. — along with ratings and weights for each. In the end, though, it came down to a feeling I had about Georgia Tech being the right place. I joined the faculty in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in July 2014.

What are the top three reasons you’d recommend Georgia Tech to other faculty members?

I’ve really enjoyed my colleagues and the campus environment here. In half a year, I’ve already had opportunities to collaborate with faculty members in my school, in the College of Engineering, and across the colleges. I take an interdisciplinary approach in my work, and I’ve been happy to see the openness to and value placed on interdisciplinary research.

What are a few things every faculty member should do while at Georgia Tech?

I don’t think I’m ready to say yet — but I’m looking forward to finding out!

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Amelia Pavlik
Communications Specialist
Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development

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