Engineer looks forward to making Oregon a safer state

Oregon State University has a brand new batch of faculty this year, arriving from all corners of the globe, and bringing with them impressive resumes and an enthusiasm for their role as OSU professors. We asked some of the 80 new faces to tell us a little bit more about themselves, their work, and why they chose OSU as their new academic home.

Ben Mason

Assistant professor of geotechnical engineering

School of Civil and Construction Engineering

Ben Mason

Ben Mason didn’t have to travel too far north after graduating from University of California at Berkeley to find a new academic home. He arrived at Oregon State eager to continue his work in the field of geotechnical earthquake engineering.

“The momentum of the Civil & Construction Engineering faculty at OSU is incredible,” Mason said. “There is a nice diversity of ages and experience. In addition, more new hires are on the way. It is a great time to be here and to collaborate with some incredible people.”

Mason’s interests include a focus on urban earthquake engineering, especially crucial in the Pacific Northwest, where a major earthquake is predicted as a relative certainty.

“Oregon needs to develop a seismic and tsunami resiliency plan — especially in light of the March 2011 Japan Earthquake,” Mason said. “The Oregon legislature realizes this, and it has started allocating money. I look forward to being part of this work, and ultimately I look forward to making Oregon a safer state.”

Mason said the Pacific Northwest is a particularly good location for his work.

“The Pacific Northwest has not received the same amount of attention as California,” he said. “The cities of Portland and Seattle are vulnerable to a very large earthquake. Most of my work will focus on understanding how infrastructure in these cities will respond to the impending Cascadia Earthquake.”

Mason previously worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at the Kennedy Space Center, and was also honored for his teaching at UC Berkeley, where he received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award.

~ Theresa Hogue


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