Student Spotlight: Rachel Hure
Name: Rachel Hure
Hometown: San Luis Obispo, California
Current position: Graduate Research Assistant to Dr. Amit Bhasin
Hobbies: I enjoy playing intramural soccer and volleyball with other engineering graduate students, as well as swimming in my free time. I also love getting involved on campus through organizations such as Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and Intelligent Transportation Engineers of America (ITSA), as well as the Graduate Engineering Council (GEC).
Where were you before you came to pursue your graduate degree at UT?
I graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas in May of 2015. I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering Science (in other words, General Engineering).
How did you become interested in transportation engineering?I held various intern roles over the summer while in undergrad that opened my eyes to the world of transportation. I always wanted to be a civil engineer, but I could not decide which specialty until I worked for Williamson County. My boss gave me the opportunity to explore every aspect of transportation from design in the office to walking around the construction site in steel-toed boots and a hard hat. I still get excited when driving over the bridge I helped inspect in Georgetown. My love of transportation continued to grow with my most recent internship at the Texas Department of Transportation working on the procurement side of highway projects.
Why did you decide to pursue your graduate studies here at UT?Trinity University provided me with a great engineering base, but little specialty. I took classes in chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering, choosing to focus on mechanical. But I still wanted to work as a civil engineer and I knew that a Master’s degree would allow me to branch into the civil engineering area. Of all the schools I applied to, UT stood out to me because of the passion the professors and students showed for transportation. Everyone professor I spoke with on my visit seemed to genuinely love his/her job. The students were friendly and honest about the rigor of the program. I knew that UT would be a great fit for me.
What kind of work are you doing here? What role are you are playing in the research, and what are your responsibilities?
Currently, I do research in asphalt pavement materials under the guidance of Dr. Amit Bhasin. I examine the mechanistic and rheological properties of asphalt binder using various standard test methods. I am working to streamline the testing process so that I can run asphalt binders through testing in a time efficient manner. In addition, I am examining the current asphalt classifications with relevance to binder source in the Performance Grading system. Beyond my research, I am also responsible for keeping the lab safe and clean so that all of my lab mates keep high productivity.
After you finish your studies here, what next?
After I graduate in Spring 2017, I plan on working as an engineer in some transportation capacity. I am still undecided what exactly that will entail, but I definitely strive to earn a Professional Engineering (PE) license in the future.