Carnegie Mellon University
July 20, 2015

Professor Small Honored with Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research

Professor Small Honored with Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research The College of Engineering announced that Professor Mitch Small has been honored with The Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research in recognition of his significant research contributions in developing novel risk assessment methods for drinking water systems. Small is widely recognized as a national leader in the development of integrated assessment for civil environmental engineering decision making.

Small is widely recognized as a national leader in the development of integrated assessment for civil-environmental engineering decision-making. His path-breaking research has focused on building and applying models that link contaminant fate and transport, human behavior, exposure, and risk to inform engineering decisions as well as policy and regulation formation. Small’s work has significantly advanced stochastic approaches in environmental engineering modeling, where the need is great because of the variability in the natural and engineered systems of interest. Further, he has linked the results of stochastic modeling directly to civil-environmental engineering decision-making.

Small has been teaching at Carnegie Mellon University since 1982. He was recognized for his teaching style, which includes showing students, in an engaging way, how quantitative analysis can bring deep insight and predictive ability in analysis of engineering problems, design, and policy formulation and analysis. He equips students with quantitative tools in statistical modeling and process modeling that enable them to excel in practice, academia, and government.

Small advises an average of 10 undergraduates and 10 graduate students each year; his 50 Ph.D. and thesis-MS students have gone on to careers in professional practice, academics, and government.

As an additional contribution to education in civil engineering, Small’s book, entitled Integrated Environmental Modeling: Pollutant Transport, Fate and Risk in the Environment, has been adopted by instructors in environmental engineering and science programs across the U.S.
The Steven J. Fenves Award for Systems Research award is named in honor University Professor Emeritus Steven J. Fenves. Fenves joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1972, serving as Head of the Civil Engineering Department (1972-75) and Director of the Design Research Center (1980-84), attaining the position of University Professor in 1984. He retired from active teaching in 1998.

Fenves’ research was devoted to computer-aided engineering to understand, model and improve the processes civil and environmental engineers use in the planning, design, construction and operation of engineered facilities.  His research has dealt with design standards, engineering databases, knowledge-based systems, machine learning, and comprehensive design environments.