DOINews: Reclamation's Hillery Venturini Wins U.S. Society on Dams Award for 'Best Paper by a Young Professional'

Last edited 09/05/2019

Hillery Venturini at work
Reclamation's Hillery Venturini is a winner of the U.S. Society on Dams' 'Best Paper by a Young Professional' award. Venturini, who works for Reclamation's Technical Service Center's Analysis Group, graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Photo by Reclamation.

It usually takes several years for an engineer to be recognized in their field, but for Hillery Venturini of Reclamation's Technical Service Center that recognition is coming early in her career. At the recent U.S. Society on Dams Annual Meeting, Venturini was awarded Best Paper by a Young Professional for her paper on Freeze-Thaw Deterioration on Aging Structures - Structural Analysis of Gerber Dam.

“Winning the award from USSD was an honor,” Venturini said. “To be recognized by individuals who represent the engineering field in such a diverse manner was humbling. As a young engineer, being recognized for my work is exciting and provides motivation to maintain a level of work worthy of such an award.”

Her paper looked at the structural analysis of Oregon's Gerber Dam, an 85.5-foot-tall dam that provides irrigation storage and reduces flow into the reclaimed portions of Tule Lake and the restricted Tule Lake Sumps in the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

“The challenge of writing a technical paper is explaining highly technical matter in a manner by which any reader can understand,” Venturini added. “Writing this paper on the Gerber Dam structural analysis enabled me to identify the most critical points and express those to a diverse audience.”

Gerber dam was built in 1925 and is suffering from freeze-thaw damage, particularly the exposed downstream face of the dam where it is not thermally protected by the reservoir. In the paper, Venturini provides information on the physical inspection of the dam and computer modeling that was completed to perform a structural analysis based on the current condition.

“I was delighted that she had won this award,” said Barbara Mills-Bria, Venturini's supervisor in the Technical Service Center's Structural Analysis Group. “She is self-motivated, accurate in her work and organized which has enabled her to tackle the difficult high-end analysis that we do in our group.”

Venturini has worked for Reclamation for more than seven years and has been involved in multiple structural analyses of concrete dams and structures plus various aspects of design and evaluation projects. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.

“Working at Reclamation has been a wonderful experience,” Venturini continues. “The team-based environment established by Reclamation

not only produces high level products and services, but allows for younger engineers to learn from seasoned engineers eager to share their knowledge.”

This story originally appeared in the Bureau of Reclamation's June 2012 ETA newsletter.

June 13, 2012

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