Shayanfar, Yang Named Outstanding Graduate Assistants

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate assistants Elham Shayanfar and Zijiang “River” Yang have been selected for the 2018 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards. Administered by the University of Maryland Graduate School, the award recognizes outstanding contributions to students, faculty, departments, and the university as a whole.


A Ph.D. student in the department’s Transportation Engineering Program Shayanfar’s research areas include network optimization, project selection and scheduling, and transportation system planning. Her work has been published by the American Society of Civil Engineering and in the Transportation Research Record. Shayanfar earned a B.S. from Sharif University of Technology in Iran before coming to College Park for graduate school. She is now also a fellow at the Appalachian Regional Commission, where she is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System research program.


Yang’s research focuses on a new ecological risk assessment approach that could allow researchers to infer the threat DDT poses to birds and other animals based on soil test alone. His work plays an integral role in a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address historical contamination at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Superfund site. Yang earned a B.S. in structural engineering from China’s Southwest University of Science and Technology before making the transition to environmental engineering at the University of Maryland.


Approximately 4,000 graduate students across campus also serve as teaching, research, or administrative assistants. Roughly 80 are chosen each year for the Outstanding Graduate Assistant Awards.

Published May 3, 2018