Dr. Girum Urgessa is an Associate Professor of Structural Engineering in the Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering, and Director of Student Leadership and Success in the College of Engineering and Computing at George Mason University. He is also an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the C4I and Cyber Center. Prior to joining Mason, he was a research engineer in the Applied Science Division of Weidlinger Associates (now Thornton Tomasetti) and a structural engineer at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. Dr. Urgessa is a Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
His main research interests include dynamic response of structures subjected to air-blast, impact, progressive collapse, and underwater explosions; extraterrestrial construction; and engineering education and outreach. His research has been supported by DoD, NSF, ASCE, 4-VA, and ITA. He teaches courses in structural engineering, mechanics, and materials, and received the John Toups Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Teaching (2022), the Chi Epsilon Cumberland District James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award (2020), the GMU Teaching Excellence Award (2015), and the GMU ASCE Chapter Professor of the Year Award (2008). He has played active roles in faculty governance at Mason, including chairing the Faculty Matters Standing Committee of the Faculty Senate and serving on the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee.
Dr. Urgessa has served on several professional committees including ASCE/SEI Retrofit of Structures under Dynamic Loads, ASCE/SEI Blast, Shock, & Impact, ACI Blast and Impact Load Effects, and as a corresponding member on ASCE Committee on Education. He is an Associate Editor of ASCE Practice Periodical in Structural Engineering and Construction, and ASCE OPEN: Multidisciplinary Journal of Civil Engineering. Dr. Urgessa is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Maryland.