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  1. Smart Structures Technologies (SST) is receiving considerable attention as the demands for high performance in structural systems increase. Although both the academic and professional engineering worlds are seeking ways to utilize SST, there is a significant gap between engineering science and engineering practice. To bridge the gap and facilitate the research infusion, San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) collaborated with industry partners to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, which provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to experience research in both academic and professional settings through cooperative research projects. The objectives of the program were to: 1) provide participants a unique and exciting summer research experience in both academic and industrial environments; 2) prepare students to become the catalysts to help close the gap between engineering science (academia) and engineering practice (industry); and 3) motivate the participants, especially those from underrepresented minority groups (URMs), not only to complete their undergraduate degrees but also to pursue advanced degrees and/or careers in engineering. 
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  2. As one of the serviceability limit states of structural design, excessive vibration has attracted more attention in recent years, with the design trend moving toward lighter and more slender structures. Footfall vibration contains high uncertainties in nature, with significant variations in walker weight, walking speeds, and dynamic load factor. Since conservative designs can often lead to significant cost premiums, this study focuses on the stochastic assessment of footfall vibration of on a composite steel floor to better understand the variation in performance of various design factors and better inform the ultimate decision-makers. To close the knowledge gap between academia and industry in this area, San Francisco State University and the University of South Carolina partnered with Arup through an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. A composite steel structure was modeled to resemble a typical office bay. The model was developed and analyzed in Oasys GSA. Monte Carlo simulation was used to quantify the probability of exceeding certain common vibration criteria. The results of this study would provide actionable guidance to stakeholders to weigh the benefits and costs between performance targets. 
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  3. Greenhouse gases trap heat within our atmosphere, leading to an unnatural increase in temperature. Carbon dioxide and its equivalent emissions have been a large focus when considering sustainability in the civil engineering field, with a reduction of global warming potential being a top priority. According to a 2017 report by the World Green Building Council, the construction and usage of buildings account for 39 percent of human carbon emissions in the United States, almost one third of which are from the extraction, manufacturing, and transportation of materials. Substituting wood for high emission materials could greatly reduce carbon if harvested and disposed of in a controlled way. To investigate this important issue, San Francisco State University and University of South Carolina partnered with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, a world leader in designing high-rise buildings, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, to investigate and quantify the embodied carbons of various slab system designs using a high-rise residential complex in San Francisco as a case study. Three concept designs were considered: a concrete building with cementitious replacement, a concrete building without cementitious replacement, and a concrete building with cementitious replacement and nail-laminated timber wood inlays inserted into various areas of the superstructure slabs. The composite structural slab system has the potential to surpass the limitations of wood-framed structures yet incorporate the carbon sequestration that makes wood a more sustainable material. The results show that wood substitution could decrease overall emissions from the aforementioned designs and reduce the environmental footprint of the construction industry. 
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  4. The gap between research in academia and industry is narrowing as collaboration between the two becomes critical. Topology optimization has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint by minimizing material usage within the design space based on given loading conditions. While being a useful tool in the design phase of the engineering process, its complexity has hindered its progression and integration in actual design. As a result, the advantages of topology optimization have yet to be implemented into common engineering practice. To facilitate the implementation and promote the usage of topology optimization, San Francisco State University and the University of South Carolina collaborated with ARUP, a world leader in structural designs, to develop an Automated Topology Optimization Platform (ATOP) to synchronize commonly used industry software programs and provide a user-friendly and automated solution to perform topology optimization. ATOP allows for users to form a conceptual understanding of a structure’s ideal shape and design in terms of ideal material placement by iterating various parameters such as volume fraction, and minimum and maximum member size at the start of a project. With developed platform, a high-rise building design from the literature was first adopted to validate the results from ATOP, after which an actual design project from ARUP was utilized to fully explore its functionality and versatility. Results show that ATOP has the potential to create aesthetic and structurally sound designs through an automated and intelligent process. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    With a call in recent years to increase safety and enhance the value of emerging high-rise building clusters, skybridges as linking systems are attacking interest by urban designers and could play a key role in the development of our future cities. While the functional and economic benefits of the skybridges are realized, the effects of skybridges on structural systems are not widely understood. Researchers and practitioners in both academia and industry have been investigating the potential of the skybridge serving to increase the resiliency and sustainability of the connected structures. However, there is a gap between engineering science in academia and engineering practice in industry, which has previously limiting the research outcomes from becoming built realities. Partnering with an industry expert in high-rise building design, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, this study sought to better understand how coupling behaviors between high-rise structures using a skybridge affect various aspects of the individual and the linked structures. In this study, parametric data, including modal information, displacement, shear, and overturning moment were gathered from realistic high-rise structure models to evaluate the structural performance under static and dynamic loading when the skybridge is installed at various locations of the structures. 
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  6. With increasing demands for high performance in structural systems, Smart Structures Technologies (SST) is receiving considerable attention as it has the potential to transform many fields in engineering, including civil, mechanical, aerospace, and geotechnical engineering. Both the academic and industrial worlds are seeking ways to utilize SST, however, there is a significant gap between the engineering science in academia and engineering practice in the industry. To respond to this challenge, San Francisco State University and the University of South Carolina collaborated with industrial partners to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, focusing on academia-industry collaborations in SST. This REU program intends to train undergraduate students to serve as the catalysts to facilitate the research infusion between academic and industrial partners. This student-driven joint venture between academia and industry is expected to establish a virtuous circle for knowledge exchange and contribute to advancing fundamental research and implementation of SST. The program features: formal training, workshops, and supplemental activities in the conduct of research in academia and industry; innovative research experience through engagement in projects with scientific and practical merits in both academic and industrial environments; experience in conducting laboratory experiments; and opportunities to present the research outcomes to the broader community at professional settings. This REU program provides engineering undergraduate students with unique research experience in both academic and industrial settings through cooperative research projects. Experiencing research in both worlds is expected to help students transition from a relatively dependent status to an independent status as their competence level increases. The joint efforts among two institutions and industry partners provide the project team with extensive access to valuable resources, such as expertise to offer a wider-range of informative training workshops, advanced equipment, valuable data sets, experienced undergraduate mentors, and professional connections, that would facilitate a meaningful REU experience. Recruitment of participants targeted 20 collaborating minority and primarily undergraduate institutions (15 of them are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, HSI) with limited science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research capabilities. The model developed through this program may help to exemplify the establishment of a sustainable collaboration model between academia and industry that helps address the nation's need for mature, independent, informed, and globally competitive STEM professionals and could be adapted to other disciplines. In this paper, the details of the first-year program will be described. The challenges and lesson-learned on the collaboration between the two participating universities, communications with industrial partners, recruitment of the students, set up of the evaluation plans, and development and implementation of the program will be discussed. The preliminary evaluation results and recommendations will also be shared. 
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