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Environmental Engineering Student Receives International Concrete Repair Institute Southeast Florida Chapter Scholarship

Ben Halee ’20, an environmental engineering major, received the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) Southeast Florida Chapter Scholarship for his work and interest in concrete repair materials.

The scholarship was awarded to encourage Halee’s participation in the concrete repair and protection industry, and in ICRI. Halee was chosen for his educational performance, career goals, aspirations and extracurriculars. The scholarship also seeks to promote his development as a future professional in the concrete repair industry.

Halee began his research working with Prannoy Suraneni, assistant professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, and Antonio Nanni, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, and their research groups, investigating the use of seawater in concrete.

“Using seawater in conventional concrete causes the corrosion of steel,” explains Halee. “However, replacing steel reinforcement with alternatives, such as glass and carbon fiber rebars, makes the development of seawater-mixed concrete feasible. Since seawater is a potentially renewable resource, the use of seawater in concrete could potentially reduce the consumption of freshwater, which is a non-renewable resource.”

For the past six months, Halee has been working directly under the supervision of Suraneni, investigating the use of concrete mixtures prepared using calcium sulfoaluminate cement and seawater for underwater and marine repair applications.

Halee also is involved in several organizations. He is a project leader for the University Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, heading the organization’s plans to build a vehicular bridge as well as a solar powered battery for a water pump in a small community outside of Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Halee also volunteers his time as an Engineering Student Ambassador at the College of Engineering, travelling to various high schools and different speaking events to share his own experiences with engineering and stimulate the children’s interest in STEM careers. He also has been involved with the Engineering Student Council, organizing major fundraising events and pep rallies for the College.

“Once I graduate, I want to help prevent and mitigate the effects of impending sea level rise, not only within South Florida, but the entire United States – and eventually the world,” Halee says. “This award not only provides the resources to continue my research and follow my passions, but also expands my knowledge related to concrete repair materials. I am excited to apply this newfound knowledge to my work on the Engineers Without Borders project, which gives me the opportunity to help design and construct a bridge that has an incredible level of social benefit attached.”

ICRI is an association dedicated to improving the quality of concrete restoration, repair and protection, through education of, and communication among, the members and those who use their services. To learn more about the ICRI Southeast Florida Chapter, please click here.

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