Kenichi Soga Named to the NAE

February 21, 2023
Kenichi Soga headshot
Civil and environmental engineering professor Kenichi Soga. (Photo by Adam Lau/Berkeley Engineering)

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has elected to its ranks UC Berkeley’s Kenichi Soga, a geotechnical engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Membership in the NAE is considered one of the highest professional honors accorded an American engineer. Soga’s election, announced today, brings to 74 the number of Berkeley Engineering faculty members in the NAE.

Soga, the Donald H. McLaughlin Chair in Mineral Engineering and a Chancellor’s Professor, has a joint appointment as a faculty scientist in the Earth and Environmental Science Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The NAE cited Soga for his advances in geomechanics and computational modeling, as well as simulation and monitoring of underground infrastructure. His recent areas of research include initiatives in partnership with the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) that use advanced remote sensing technologies to better monitor critical infrastructure systems. Soga is the founding director of the Center for Smart Infrastructure, launched in 2021 by Berkeley Engineering and EBMUD to host this area of research, which has become increasingly important as communities face impacts due to climate change, aging systems and natural hazards.

Soga, who serves as Special Advisor to the Dean for Resilient and Sustainable Systems, is also among seven alumni elected this year from Berkeley Engineering, earning his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering in 1994.

Other Berkeley Engineering alumni among this year’s roster of newly elected members are:

• Andrew George Alleyne (M.S.’92, Ph.D.’94 ME), professor and dean, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

• J. Richard Capka (M.S.’77 CE), chief operating officer, Dawson & Associates, Washington, D.C.

• Shih-Fu Chang (M.S.’91, Ph.D.’93 EECS), dean and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University, New York City.

• David Alan Friedman (B.S.’75 CE), president and CEO (retired), Forell/Elsesser Engineers Inc., San Francisco.

• Linsey C. Marr (M.S.’97, Ph.D.’02 CEE), Charles P. Lunsford Professor, The Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg.

• Amin Vahdat (B.S.’92, Ph.D.’98 EECS), fellow and vice president, Google LLC, Mountain View, California.

Altogether, there are 2,420 NAE members nationwide and 319 international members.

Election to the NAE is the latest recognition of Soga’s academic achievements. He is also a Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, among other honors.

New academy members will be inducted later this year at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.