Piyush Pradhananga remembers the aftermath of an earthquake that flattened his town in Nepal, one of the world’s most natural disaster-prone countries, when he was in his early 20s. Aside from the pain his family and many others suffered, something else left an impression: the amount of debris created in the demolition of homes slated for reconstruction.

Awarded a Ph.D. in 2023 from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering within FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing, Pradhananga could not shake the idea of helping low-income communities recover from earthquakes, flooding and windstorms in a way that would reduce both costs and waste. He undertook research that would help identify elements – such as windows, doors, rooftops, stairs and flooring – that could be reused in either new construction or remodeling.

“My doctoral studies have provided me with the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research projects such as revamping circular economy resilience in construction, accelerating effective project delivery of U.S. bridges and advancing construction students’ technological skills that required collaboration across multiple disciplines,” says Pradhananga. “This challenged me to think beyond the boundaries of my primary field and encouraged me to explore connections and synergies with other academic fields, such as business, data analytics, environmental safety and sustainability to give me a more well-rounded perspective.”

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