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Kara Peterman

Kara Peterman

Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Winter 2018 Innovation Fellow

Dr. Kara Peterman is a structural engineering experimentalist who joined the Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty at UMass Amherst in September 2016. She received her MS and PhD in Civil Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University (in 2011 and 2014, respectively) and her BS in Engineering from Swarthmore College. Following her PhD, she began a two-year postdoc at Northeastern University. Dr. Peterman’s research is focused on resilience of steel structures, and she has examined resilience from both a natural hazards and sustainability perspective, experimentally testing steel systems ranging from the connection-level to full scale buildings. To date, Dr. Peterman’s research has improved and informed current design codes, and she is active with the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), and the AISI Committee on Framing Standards to further the dissemination of her work. She also chairs the Thin-Walled Structures Task Group of the Structural Stability Research Council (SSRC), and serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Thermal Bridging Task Group. Dr. Peterman has been an affiliated investigator with the Cold-Formed Steel Research Consortium (CFSRC) since 2015, and has focused her work at UMass on identifying and characterizing load transfer mechanisms in cold-formed steel structures, investigating the interactions between structural systems. Dr. Peterman is passionate about outreach, and has enthusiastically and consistently promoted the advancement of underrepresented groups in engineering for over a decade via the Young Scholars program at UMass Amherst, the SABES (STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools) program, and Expanding Your Horizons.

Fellowship Project & Instructional Interests

Modern engineering problems are frequently interdisciplinary, and it is my goal as an educator to not only teach to students across disciplines, but also foster a passion for breadth of knowledge. I aim to do this by engaging students with each other through team-based learning, while using a range of classroom tools and technologies to transform traditional engineering lectures into an active learning setting. My hope is that by creating an environment for discourse, young engineers learn interdisciplinary skills as part of their core curriculum at UMass.