Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Ellen Rathje

Ellen M. Rathje Ph.D., P.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Ellen Rathje received her Ph.D. (1997) and M.S. degree (1994) in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Her graduate school focus was in geotechnical earthquake engineering. She also received her B.S. degree (1993) in Civil Engineering from Cornell University. Since graduation, Professor Rathje has been on the faculty of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), rising from the position of Assistant Professor to the Janet S. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, the position she now holds. She is also a Senior Research Scientist at the UT Bureau of Economic Geology, and, since 2007, a faculty member at the European School for Advanced Studies in Reduction of Seismic Risk at the University of Pavia, Italy.

For more than 20 years, Professor Rathje has been a research and teaching leader in the areas of seismic site response analysis, seismic slope stability, field reconnaissance after earthquakes, and remote sensing of geotechnical phenomena. She has authored more than 150 papers on these topics and has supervised more than 30 graduate students. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. National Science Foundation, and State of Texas. Dr. Rathje is a founding member of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association. From 2010-2013, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). She was also a member of the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee of the U.S. Geological Survey, from 2007-2013. 

Professor Rathje is the principal investigator (PI) for the development of the DesignSafe cyberinfrastructure for the NSF-funded Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI).  She is also Co-PI for the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research and the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, both housed at the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT. In 2016, Professor Rathje was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and in 2018 she received the William B. Joyner Lecture Award from the Seismological Society of America and EERI. She is also the recipient of the 2010 ASCE Huber Research Prize, 2002 ASCE Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award, and 2010 Hogentogler Outstanding Paper Award from the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). She is also the recipient of the EERI Shah Innovation Prize (2006).

Prof. Rathje has a long history of collaboration with Berkeley CEE. She was an invited Distinguished Lecturer at the 2016 Geoengineering Distinguished Lecture Series.  She has been a Co-PI with CEE faculty on NSF funded research, has co-authored technical publications with these faculty, and has been active in the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center.