On Infrastructure and Engineering Change

Trish Culligan is Matthew H. McCloskey Dean of the College of Engineering at Notre Dame and a professor in the University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. Before joining the Notre Dame faculty this past August, she was chair and Carleton Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at Columbia University.

Internationally recognized for her expertise in water resources and environmental engineering, Trish is currently co-directing a research network sponsored by the National Science Foundation that is developing new models for urban infrastructure to make cities cleaner, healthier, and more enjoyable places to live.

She talked with us about that work and the potential of decentralized infrastructure to make a difference in both the developed and developing worlds, albeit for very different reasons. We also covered where the term “civil engineering” comes from, the importance of engineers being able to play a role in informing public policy, and how successful engineering practice isn’t all concrete, steel, and technical detail—no matter how much she may love talking about those things.

We started by asking Trish for her thoughts on a random engineering quote we found on the Internet. Her willingness to engage with our attempt at a creative interview opening let us know right away we were in for a good conversation.

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“With a Side of Knowledge” is a podcast produced at the University of Notre Dame. It features interviews with fascinating people from both Notre Dame and elsewhere that take place over brunch—or if we’re really in a pinch, coffee.

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March 4, 2021

Global AffairsHealth and SocietyScience and TechnologyTrish CulliganPatricia CulliganDeanNotre DamepodcastCivil and Environmental Engineering and Earth SciencesCollege of EngineeringInterviewWith a Side of Knowledge