Amanda Parry posing in the lab

Parry Named First Abriola Fellow

Amanda Parry has been named the inaugural recipient of the Linda M. Abriola Graduate Fellowship in engineering.

Amanda Parry is the first recipient of the Abriola Graduate Fellowship in engineering. Sparked by a challenge from Steven E. Karol A76, A04P, A13P, the members of the Engineering Board of Advisors established the fellowship fund in honor of former engineering dean Linda M. Abriola. Parry was selected for the fellowship as one of the most promising graduate applicants to the School of Engineering interested in research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

How did you become interested in geosystems?

I always knew I was interested in large-scale infrastructure projects. My family took a road trip when I was in high school, and I remember being fascinated by the Glen Canyon Dam and the tunnels carved straight through the Rocky Mountains—and I thought it would be cool to be able to work on designing and constructing similar kinds of projects. I took the class "Introduction to Structures and Soils" during my junior year at MIT, and I was especially drawn to the soils half of the semester. I liked thinking about how every infrastructure project, in one way or another, needs to be supported by some kind of earth material.

What kind of research have you worked on in this area?

During my undergraduate experience, I worked with the MIT Rock Mechanics Group investigating fracture patterns in granite. We were working on applications for hydraulic fracturing. I completed my undergraduate capstone project with a related project in which I investigated what the microfracturing mechanisms in granite might mean for slope stability design problems.

What research topics within geosystems do you think you might pursue?

I'm still working with my advisor to determine what research topic I will pursue, but it will most likely be related to learning more about a particular kind of soil property and what kind of variables affect it. For example, if temperature has an effect on the consolidation and strength properties of clays.

What made Tufts the right choice for you?

Tufts was the right choice for me because it is going to allow me to further my geotechnical engineering studies through coursework, as well as perform cutting-edge research leading to my thesis with Research Professor Jack Germaine. I'm not sure if I will dedicate my life to research after my graduate studies—such as becoming a professor or working for a research center. However, before I move on to the next thing, I wanted the chance to work on an intense research project. Also, being from the Boston area originally, Tufts lets me stay close to my family and friends. 

Once you finish your degree program, what would you ultimately like to be doing with your time?

After my degree program, I hope to go into practice and work for an engineering consulting company. I've worked for two summers and love that environment and working on real-world infrastructure projects. I am hoping to earn my professional licensure as soon as possible also.

What does having this fellowship and the financial support mean to your ability to pursue a graduate education?

I would not be able to pursue graduate education without having this fellowship and financial support. Having both of these things allows me to put all my time and energy into the next two years at Tufts to learn as much as I can without having to maintain a full time job. I'm very grateful for the fellowship and financial aid because without it I wouldn't be on this path.