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CBBG Leadership Team

Kavazanjian_Edward_0004b-crpd-224x300Edward Kavazanjian Jr., Ph.D., P.E.,
CBBG Center Director

Edward Kavazanjian returned to academia with an appointment at ASU in 2004 after 20 years in engineering practice. His industrial experience includes working for a large (over 2,000 employees) international firm specializing in civil infrastructure design; a small, entrepreneurial geotechnical specialty consulting firm; and 10 years with a geoenvironmental consulting firm that grew from 100 to over 400 people during his tenure. At the geoenvironmental consulting firm, he served on the Board of Directors, was discipline leader for geotechnical and landfill engineering, managed multi-disciplinary engineering services contracts of up to $8.4 million in value (for the City of Los Angles Department of Public Works), and managed geotechnical services on Superfund design/construct remediation projects with total value from $13 million to over $150 million. Professor Kavazanjian was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2013 for his work as a consulting engineer. He is widely recognized for his research on waste containment systems, seismic analysis and design of geotechnical features for transportation systems, and in the emerging field of biogeotechnical engineering.

zapata-picture-cbbgClaudia E. Zapata, Ph.D.,
CBBG Center Deputy Director

Claudia Zapata is an Associate Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at ASU. Her research interests focus on laboratory and field characterization of problematic soils and bio-mediated geomaterials, the behavior of soils due to repeated loading and environmental effects, and modeling fluid flow and volume change of soils applied to pavement structures and residential foundation systems.  She is also heavily invested in engineering education and diversity and outreach activities.  Her current research activities include the study of fluid flow in soils due to thermal gradients and how it affects airfield pavement structures and the introduction of unsaturated soil mechanics principles into the undergraduate geotechnical engineering curriculum.  She has played a major role in the development of models to incorporate environmental effects into pavement design practice, including the newest AASHTO Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide, and in development of a database of unsaturated soil properties for the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. 

Jason DeJong, Ph.D.,
Thrust leader for Hazard Mitigation (Thrust 1)

Jason DeJong is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCD. Through his Soil Interactions Laboratory, he directs research into bio-mediated soils processes, advanced site characterization, behavior of intermediate and gravelly soils, sustainable geotechnical practice, and deep foundation performance. Fundamental scientific advances in these research areas have been successfully upscaled to full-scale field deployment in practice, including MICP trials at a mining site, characterization of gravel in the foundation of several large dams in California, and development of standards on offshore site characterization. Professor DeJong has given several keynote lectures at national and international conferences and is the lead author of several pioneering publications on biogeotechnics. His work has been funded through more than $5M in industry, state and federal grants, which led to over 100 peer-reviewed publications and the training of more than 40 graduate students.

krajmalnik-brown_rosaRosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Ph.D.
Thrust leader for Environmental Protection and Ecological Restoration (Thrust 2)

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown has more than 10 years of experience conducting sponsored research in remediation. She has successfully worked on multi-disciplinary engineering projects totaling more than $9 million. She has an NSF-Career award, more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, 1 patent, and 7 pending patent applications. She is the director of the Microbiome Sequencing Laboratory at ASU. Her current research applies principles and tools of molecular microbial ecology to address key environmental engineering issues, including: 1) biodegradation of chlorinated organics, 2) biotechnology for energy production, and 3) genomics of microorganisms in humans. All these areas involve the management of microbial interactions to exploit the beneficial metabolic capabilities of microorganisms.

paola_bandiniPaola Bandini, Ph.D., P.E.
Thrust leader for Infrastructure Construction (Thrust 3)

Paola Bandini is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at NMSU. She has 12 years of geotechnical engineering research and teaching experience. Her research has focused on the application of experimental and numerical methods to geomechanics. Her current research interests include determination of engineering properties of desert and diatom-containing soils, erosion control measures for transportation structures, sustainable use of materials in civil engineering (foam glass, waste tires, adobe), and modeling and evaluation of pavement performance. As a PI, she has managed $2.2 million in grants and contracts from state agencies and private industry. She leads the “Modeling for the Design, Construction, and Management of Geosystems” Committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

frost-davidJ. David Frost, Ph.D., P.E. 
Thrust Leader for Natural Resource Development (Thrust 4)

David Frost is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Georgia Tech. Prior to entering academia, he worked in industry in Ireland and Canada on infrastructure and natural resource related projects. A core focus throughout his career has been the study of natural and man-made systems and materials. His research is centered on the application and development of digital technologies for studying subsurface problems at multiple scales and he has received two U.S. patents for multi-sensor subsurface systems. He has graduated more than 30 PhD students, 40% of whom have gone on to academic positions. He has served on or led post-disaster study teams following disasters in the US, Turkey, India, China, Chile and Japan and is a founding member and co-chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association. He has organized numerous workshops and conferences on the applications of spatial analysis and image processing techniques to study the response of geomaterial systems under various loading conditions. He is a registered professional engineer in the US and Canada.

delia_saenzDelia Saenz, Ph.D.
Diversity Director

Delia Saenz is Associate Professor of Psychology and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Arizona State University. Her doctorate, in Social Psychology, was awarded from Princeton University in 1987. She served previously as an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame before moving to ASU. Dr. Saenz is also a Research Professor in the ASU Hispanic Research Center, and during her tenure at ASU, she has served administratively as Director of the Graduate Program in Social Psychology, interim Associate Dean of the Graduate College, and Director of the Intergroup Relations Center. Dr. Saenz is a Fellow of the Western Psychological Association, and has served as Representative at Large and Program Chair for WPA. She is also a member of the editorial board for Small Group Research.

susan-brown2Susan W. Brown, Ph.D.
Pre-College Education Director

Susan Brown is a Research Associate Professor at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and currently is the Director of the STEM Outreach Center for the NMSU College of Education.  She is the Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator of a NSF grant, several foundation grants, three NASA projects (including the Southern New Mexico Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy on the campus of New Mexico State University) and other state/federal grants.  Her K-12th grade after school programs touch the lives of over 5,000 students each year as well as her work with K-12th grade teachers in providing high quality professional development opportunities that include increasing the teachers’ content knowledge and use of brain researched teaching strategies.  Her outreach focus is increasing student participation and achievement in the STEM fields.    Her research focus is science education and the underrepresentation of minority students and females in the fields of science, math, and engineering.  She joined the University after teaching 16 years in middle and high school science classes.

Photo of Jennifer ChandlerJennifer Chandler, Ph.D.
Assistant Director for Diversity and Leadership

Jennifer Chandler is a Lecturer in the Leadership and Integrative Studies Unit in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University.  Her expertise is in project management and in examining dominant social norms within leadership contexts. Her research interests focus on effective strategies and techniques for recognizing and disrupting dominant norms that perpetuate the systemic and structural marginalization of groups of people. Dr. Chandler has served in the CBBG IDEA Working Group since 2015.  She developed the CBBG Mentor Guide and leads the mentoring training.  Prior to pursuing her graduate degree, Dr. Chandler served over 20 years as a project and program manager for information technology projects undertaken by large multinational corporations and federal agencies.

Nasser Hamdan PhotoNasser Hamdan, Ph.D.
CBBG Industrial Collaboration and Innovation Director

Nasser Hamdan is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at ASU. His expertise is in biogeotechnical engineering and biogeochemical processes for ground improvement and remediation. His research activities involve experimentation and analytical testing related to induced mineral precipitation using biological processes and macromolecules such as enzymes and biopolymers. He is currently involved in various projects directed towards the improvement of the bulk mechanical properties of soil, surficial soil stabilization, sustainable building materials, facilitated mineral precipitation and environmental remediation. Prior to pursuing his graduate degree in civil engineering, Dr. Hamdan spent nearly 10 years in the electrical and plumbing service industry. He also has experience operating retail and self-service businesses, and experience in negotiating and drafting contracts related to these businesses.

Phone: (480) 965-2277, Email:

larson-picture-cbbgJean Larson, Ph.D.
Education Director

Jean Larson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Research Professor in both the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Technology, postgraduate training in Computer Systems Engineering, and many years of experience teaching and developing curriculum in various learning environments. She has taught technology integration and teacher training to undergraduate and graduate students at Arizona State University, students at the K-12 level locally and abroad, and various workshops and modules in business and industry. Dr. Larson is experienced in the application of instructional design, delivery, evaluation, and specializes in eLearning technologies for training and development. Her research focuses on the efficient and effective transfer of knowledge and learning techniques, innovative and interdisciplinary collaboration, and strengthening the bridge between K-12 learning and higher education in terms of engineering content.

Robert Brier
Administrative Director

Robert (Bob) Brier, Administrative Director, started at CBBG in August 2018 and brings with him years of sponsored research administration experience, including grant and financial management, human resources oversight, proposal and budget development, operational support, and strategic planning. Prior to joining CBBG, he was Director of Strategic Affairs as Arizona State University. He also served as the Senior Financial and Administrative Officer at the National Academies of Sciences as well as the Financial and Administrative Director at the Brookings Institution, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health. He also lead the pre-award grants office at the Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Kimberly Farnsworth, M.Ed. 
Education Coordinator

Kimberly Farnsworth joined CBBG as Education Coordinator in April 2019 bringing her background in education, research, industry and STEM. Kimberly has worked in a variety of capacities in education for over twenty years having taught in K-12 schools both in the United States and overseas, in online learning environments, undergraduate pre-service education courses, instructional design and development, non-profit advising and academic research. She received her M.Ed. in Educational Technology from Arizona State University and is currently completing a doctorate degree. Her research is focused on inquiry-based and authentic learning environments with a particular focus on problem-based learning in STEM education. In her current role, Kimberly supports CBBG education outreach efforts and programs, as well as supporting faculty in engineering curriculum development. 

Boyoung Jeong
CBBG Student Leadership Council President

Boyoung Jeong is the President of CBBG Student Leadership Council. She is a PhD student in Civil Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (advisor: Dr. Sheng Dai), and her research has focused on the biomediated geotechnics. She has been involved in CBBG since she started her PhD research, and she was engaged with the SLC in 2017-2018 as a Cross-disciplinary leader at GT chapter.

Mary Bankhead, M.A., M.S.
Project Coordinator

Mary L. Bankhead joined the CBBG Team in February 2019 as the Project Coordinator/Fiscal Specialist. As the CBBG Project Coordinator, she is responsible for managing day-to-day center operations, assisting with budget oversight and transactions, and supporting all Center team members. With her Master of Arts in Counseling (Northern Arizona University) and Master of Science (Eastern Illinois University), she brings with her over fifteen years of Higher Education Administration experience including Student Affairs, Facilities, Operations, and Finance Management. Prior to joining CBBG, she served in fiscal management and operations roles with Arizona State University and training and facilitation roles with Thunderbird School of Global Management.


CBBG Leadership Team only