2023 O’Donnell Award in Engineering: Jamie Padgett, Ph.D.

Rice University Structural Engineer Jamie Padgett, Ph.D., Recognized for Building Multi-Hazard Resilience Models to Protect Infrastructure from Extreme Weather-Related Events

Leading structural engineer Jamie Padgett, Ph.D., Stanley C. Moore Professor, Rice University, is the recipient of the 2023 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering from TAMEST. She was chosen for her life-saving research in infrastructure sustainability and resiliency in hazard-prone regions.

Dr. Padgett’s research enhances public safety and provides new methods for multi-hazard resilience modeling. Instead of looking at a single threat, like how a bridge will perform in an earthquake, her research looks at multiple hazards or multiple threats that a system might be exposed to over time.

In addition to physical damage that hazards impose on structures, she looks at how infrastructure performance will affect community resiliency. Her methods reveal strategies to enhance reliability and improve the sustainability of critical community infrastructure, such as bridges, intermodal transportation systems, tank farms, industrial facilities and more.

“Dr. Padgett is exceptionally talented and has always been at the forefront of not just looking at the built environment as it relates to natural hazards but also looks at how our social systems and behaviors interact and are impacted as well,” said Nominator Reginald DesRoches, Ph.D. (NAE), President and Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Rice University. “Dr. Padgett gets that you can’t look at everything in silos, especially when it comes to infrastructure systems. You must look at the interdependencies and come up with a multi-hazard approach, which makes the work much more complex.”

Dr. Padgett is one of five Texas-based researchers receiving the TAMEST 2023 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards. Each are chosen for their individual contributions addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

Dr. Padgett will be recognized at the 2023 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, and will give a presentation on her research preceding the award ceremony at the TAMEST 2023 Annual Conference: Forward Texas – Accelerating Change in Houston, Texas, at The InterContinental Houston – Medical Center.

All are encouraged to attend the ceremony and the TAMEST Conference.

About the O’Donnell Awards:

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards annually recognize rising star Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

Thanks to a $1.15 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation in 2022, the O’Donnell Awards have expanded to include an additional science award. The awards now recognize recipients in the categories of Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology Innovation. (Previously, the TAMEST O’Donnell Awards rotated its science award between physical and biological sciences every year.)

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards are made possible by the O’Donnell Awards Endowment Fund, established in 2005 through the generous support of several individuals and organizations. View a full list of supporters here.


TAMEST was co-founded in 2004 by the Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison and Nobel Laureates Michael S. Brown, M.D., and Richard E. Smalley, Ph.D. With more than 330 members and 18 member institutions, TAMEST is composed of the Texas-based members of the three National Academies (National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences), the Royal Society and the state’s 9 Nobel Laureates. We bring together the state’s brightest minds in medicine, engineering, science and technology to foster collaboration, and to advance research, innovation and business in Texas.

TAMEST’s unique interdisciplinary model has become an effective recruitment tool for top research and development centers across Texas. Since our founding, more than 275 TAMEST members have been inducted into the National Academies or relocated to Texas.

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