Sarah Billington



Prof. Billington is Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford University.  She is the Milligan Family Fellow in Undergraduate Education. Prof. Billington received her B.S.E. in Civil Engineering & Operations Research with high honors from Princeton University in 1990. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study civil engineering at the ETH-Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in 1991. She received her M.S. (1994) and Ph.D (1997) in structural engineering from the University of Texas in Austin. Prof. Billington was Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University from 1997-2002. She joined the Faculty at Stanford University in 2003. She has twice been a visiting professor in the Computational Mechanics group in Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, first in 1998 and most recently for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Tim Frank

PhD Candidate

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, I was fascinated each day watching huge Air Force C-5 Galaxy planes fly overhead and wondered how they stay in the air.  We moved to the suburbs of Chicago and my curiosity shifted to bridges and how they hold up the weight of all the vehicles.  You could say my career path was shaped by both of those interests as I earned bachelor's and masters' degrees from the University of Illinois in civil engineering, and subsequently joined the Air Force.  My professional experience includes being a project and program manager for construction projects including buildings, infrastructure, and aircraft hangars at various locations around the U.S. and overseas.  I first became interested in teaching as a teaching assistant in grad school and was later assigned as an Assistant Professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Fortunately, the Air Force sponsored me to come to Stanford to earn a PhD with a follow-on assignment back to the Academy to teach civil engineering.  I came to Stanford in 2013 to study high-performance fiber-reinforced cement composites with Professors Sarah Billington and Mike Lepech.  Outside of research, my time is spent with my wife and two children.  Hobbies include travel, hiking, fitness, golf, and bowling.

Cecily Ryan

PhD Candidate


Growing up in Montana sparked my professional interest in developing technology that benefits both human kind and the environment. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 2000, and my M.S. in Applied Physics from Caltech in 2002. My professional experience prior to starting at Stanford for my doctoral studies in 2010 includes studying CO2 emissions from burning biomass at the Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT and two Silicon Valley startup companies, Calstar Products and Calera, developing sustainable cementitious products. My current research focuses on biodegradable polymers that can be applied as polymer/natural fiber composites in sustainable building applications and to replace traditional plastics in other applications. I am studying how processing and material properties affect the anaerobic degradation of these polymers at their end-of-life. I work with Professor Sarah Billington and Professor Craig Criddle in CEE and collaborate with Professor Curt Frank’s group in Chemical Engineering.  Outside of my academic work I enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing, and dancing.

Wenhao Chen

PhD Student

I come from Shandong, China, the hometown of Confucius. I started my study in structural engineering at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 2011.  I finished my Masters degree at Stanford in 2013 and continued as a PhD student of Professor Sarah Billington and Professor Oliver Fringer.  My research topic is the stability assessment of bridge infrastructure under scour conditions.  I focus on numerical modeling of scour formation processes and bridge foundation stability.  In addition to academia, sports are my favorite. I love soccer and basketball. Inter Milan will be always my top club, and then, Go Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.