Corrosion Researcher Wins 2023 AISC T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award

AISC is proud to present the 2023 T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award to Jennifer McConnell, PhD, of the University of Delaware.

McConnell has conducted groundbreaking research into the performance of uncoated weathering steel (UWS) in bridges. Her work incorporates long-term field data on the performance of steel structures and corrosion protection methods in various environments and includes an analysis of practical design strategies that improve corrosion resistance.

“Dr. McConnell’s research is essential to ongoing work to update Federal Highway Administration guidelines for the application and maintenance of uncoated weathering steel--which date all the way back to 1989,” said AISC Vice President of Engineering and Research Christopher H. Raebel, SE, PE, PhD. “Research like this ensures that departments of transportation throughout the country will be able to take full advantage of this uniquely sustainable, economical, and durable structural material.”

McConnell is the Bentley Systems Career Development Professor at the University of Delaware, where she also directs the Center for Innovative Bridge Engineering. She has over 20 years of research experience in bridge behavior, laboratory testing, field evaluation, inspection, long-term performance, design, and analytical modeling of bridges. She is a member of the National Steel Bridge Alliance Oversight Committee, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Steel Bridge Task Force, the AISI Corrosion Advisory Group, and the Transportation Research Board Committee on Steel Bridges.

McConnell will present “Steel Structures to Withstand the Elements: What Structural Engineers Need to Know About Corrosion” as the final keynote of NASCC: The Steel Conference in Charlotte, N.C., next April. She will repeat the presentation at other events throughout the year.

About the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award

Each year, AISC's T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper or papers, published during the eligibility period, are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel.

The award is named for Theodore R. Higgins, former AISC Director of Engineering and Research, who was widely acclaimed for his many contributions to the advancement of engineering technology related to fabricated structural steel. The award honors Higgins for his innovative engineering, timely technical papers, and distinguished lectures.

Winners receive a $15,000 honorarium and will present their lecture, upon request, at professional association events.