Spring 2021 Graduates

The Nebraska Transportation Center is celebrating the graduation of three students from their graduate studies, which included their contribution to projects conducted in concordance with NTC. Their degrees, future plans, and some of their most recent accomplishments are described to show the ways in which they elevated and demonstrated the desire for NTC to foster interest in students in transportation engineering.

Dr. Antonio Hurtando Beltran and his family.

Antonio Hurtando Beltran obtained a Fullbright-García Robles Scholarship for graduate studies to pursue his PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Beltran worked as a graduate research assistant on freight transportation and freeway operations projects, most recently working closely with the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM-6) and its limitations.

In January, Dr. Beltran received news of his paper titled “An Alternative Regression Model Structure for the HCM-6 Equal Capacity Passenger Car Equivalency Methodology” being accepted for publication to the Transportation Research Record. The paper takes a closer look at the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM-6) and the nonlinear regression model used to develop the capacity adjustment factor (CAF) to calculate equal-capacity passenger car equivalencies (EC-PCEs).

Dr. Beltran's advisor, Professor Dr. Laurence Rilett, co-authored the aforementioned Transportation Research Record publication. Since graduation, Dr. Beltran has taken a position as Professor and Researcher at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Mexico where he previously obtained his undergraduate and Master's Degrees.

Sydney James and Dr. Laurence Rilett standing on the stairs of the Whittier building at UNL.
Sydney James (left) and Dr. Laurence Rilett (right) in front of the Prem S. Paul Research Center.

During the Spring Graduate Commencement, Sydney James graduated with her Master's in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As a student she worked on transportation research as it pertained to safety for vehicles transporting hazardous material in rural and tribal areas.

Earlier this year, Ms. James was recognized by the U.S. DOT's University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program and the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) as one of their Students of the Year. Due to this year's COVID-19 regulations, they hosted their 30th annual banquet virtually to recognize students from university transportation centers across the nation.

She was chosen by Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) to receive the Student of the Year award for her participation in research and outreach at the transportation center. As an undergraduate and graduate student at UNL, Ms. James often participated in the MATC Roads, Rails, and Race Cars after school program for middle school students to spark their interests in the STEM fields. She also was a key contributor to the MATC Sovereign Native Youth STEM Leadership Academy and the Native Scholars Program which aim to encourage the STEM fields and higher education in underrepresented groups.

Ms. James in now a Technical Advisor and Partner at Nebraska Accident Reconstruction

Sean Murphy headshot
Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy graduated this semester with a Master's in Civil Engineering. He recently co-authored a paper titled “Arterial Roadway Travel Time Reliability and the COVID-19 Pandemic” published by the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering. The paper analyze the effects of COVID-19 on travel time reliability (TTR(. Researchers Sean Murphy, Dr. Ernest Tufuor, and Dr. Laurence Rilett performed a comparative analysis to examine average travel time distributions (TTD) and their associated TTR metrics before and during the pandemic from four urban arterial corridors in Nebraska.

Mr. Murphy is currently working full time at HDR in Omaha, Nebraska where he has been working for a little over two years. As a traffic EIT he focuses on simulation modeling and traffic analysis and plans to take the PE exam within the next year. When he has time outside his job, he helps his wife in her newly opened local coffee shop, Stir Coffee Bar.

Share your News with NTC!

If you are a student, faculty member, or other affiliate of the Nebraska Transportation Center, we are eager to share your news of your work and accomplishments.

Send your information to Madison Schmidt at mschmidt24@unl.edu and it could appear in NTC's website, newsletter, Facebook, and Twitter.