We're pleased to announce Guillermo Diaz-Fanas (M.EERI,2015) and Erica Fischer (M.EERI,2010) as the recipients of the 2020 EERI Younger Member Award! The award is given to early-career members who have made outstanding contributions to the Institute and the pursuit of its objectives — especially contributions that have improved opportunities for and increased the impact of younger members. Due to the nature of this award and its focus on encouraging young member participation in the Institute, the honor’s committee felt it was reasonable to select two winners for the 2020 award since the candidates were both so exceptional.
Senior Technical Principal in Multi-Hazard Resilience, WSP USA
Guillermo Diaz-Fanas is a Senior Technical Principal in Multi-Hazard Resilience with the GT-TEC of WSP USA. Diaz-Fanas received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) and a master's degree in structural from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Fulbright Fellow. Guillermo has held several positions of leadership locally and nationally with EERI, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Geo-Institute, the Deep Foundations Institute, and other professional societies. He is also the founding President of the first non-profit organization for LGBTQIA+ students and professionals to pursue careers in the built environment.
The selection committee has recognized Guillermo as follows:
"Guillermo’s ability to advocate for EERI involvement to his peers and colleagues is unique and impactful. The honor’s committee was especially impressed by his service on the Board of the EERI New York - Northeast Regional Chapter (EERI-NYNE). Through his role on the EERI-NYNE, as their Academic Liaison and now Board member, he has helped to promote EERI and encourage the establishment of four new university student chapters in New York City (EERI-NYU), in Dominican Republic (EERI-PUCMM), in Ecuador (EERI-ESPE) and in Peru. He has also organized technical programs for the benefit of local New York members. In addition to these major pursuits, he also participates in EERI’s SESI, PPA, and Seismic Design Competition as a judge, mentor, and regular Master of Ceremonies."
Assistant Professor of Civil & Construction Engineering, Oregon State University
Erica Fischer is an assistant professor of structural engineering at Oregon State University. She received a B.S. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. Prior to Oregon State, she worked as a structural engineer in New York and Seattle where she focused on renovations and retrofits of existing buildings. Erica has served in a number of leadership positions in EERI, from co-chair of the Student Leadership Council to now a member of the EERI Board of Directors. She is also one of the founding members of the EERI Younger Members Committee and Virtual Earthquake Reconnaissance Team.
The selection committee has recognized Erica as follows:
"Erica has shown extensive leadership in EERI from the early stages of her career by using her enthusiasm to revitalize EERI activities and develop innovative new ways to engage Younger Members in Institute activities. Since her time as Chair of the YMC, she has continued to expand and refine VERT as a co-Chair in its new location as an official LFE subcommittee. VERT has changed the way that EERI and other reconnaissance organizations approach post-disaster assessment, and provides specific opportunities for younger members to participate in reconnaissance. Erica continues to advocate for younger members on her role on the EERI Board of Directors, since her appointment for a four-year term in 2019."