Alumnus Dr. Jacob Stolle awarded Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A picture of a man smiling

Dr. Jacob Stolle, PhD graduate in Civil Engineering, has been awarded the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal, one of the most prestigious awards for graduate students. For over 140 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals recognize the academic achievements of outstanding students in Canada.

The medals are awarded at four levels:

  • Bronze at the secondary school level
  • Collegiate Bronze at the post-secondary diploma level
  • Silver at the undergraduate level
  • Gold at the graduate level

“It is a great honor, but it is certainly not done in a vacuum. I want to thank Dr. Nistor, Dr. Goseberg and Dr. Petriu, for their support throughout my Ph.D., I definitely wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I got without them. I would also like to thank the administrative staff in the Civil Engineering Department and the Graduate Office for the Faculty of Civil Engineering. They were instrumental in navigating doing a joint degree between two universities; I am sure I was not the easiest graduate student.”

Dr. Stolle’s cotutelle Ph.D. thesis, Debris Hazard Assessment in Extreme Flooding Events, was supervised by Prof. Ioan Nistor and Prof. Emil Petriu from uOttawa, as well as by Prof. Nils Goseberg from the University of Braunschweig in Germany. Dr. Stolle examined the design of tsunami-resistant infrastructure and focused on assessing the design conditions within tsunami events.

His main area of research was the impact and transportation of debris entrained within the flow. Debris has been identified as a critical concern as it falls outside of the typical hydraulic forces associated with flooding events. His research included a field survey following the 2018 Palu Indonesia earthquake and tsunami and experiments at uOttawa and Waseda University in Japan.

A group of people smiling in front of the entrance of a building

Dr. Stolle says he enjoyed studying at the University of Ottawa because it is one of the few Canadian schools that provide coastal engineering opportunities, on top of offering excellent laboratory facilities. uOttawa professor Dr. Nistor, a prominent and active member of the coastal engineering community, shares that he is very proud of his student’s accomplishments:

“Six years ago, when Jacob first approached me, I hesitated to accept him as a Master student - I was leaving for a year of sabbatical research abroad and accepting new graduate students was not on my horizon. However, Jacob was so persistent and his intriguing ideas, stemming from what he (jokingly) states now, his “humble beginnings as an environmental engineer”, persuaded me to accept him in my research team. Over the course of his Master and Ph.D., Jacob morphed into a fantastic researcher, oozing with brilliant ideas and exhibiting relentless work ethics and a strong, applicative engineering mind! The outcome of Jacob’s Ph.D. thesis gained international recognition: its results have been included in the world’s first standard for the design of tsunami-resistant buildings. I am very proud of Jacob but this is, for sure, a massive understatement!”

Through his research, Dr. Stolle was able to build a robust research network and work in different countries, which will significantly help him in the future. He is currently an assistant professor at INRS in Quebec City Eau Terre Environnement in Coastal Fluvial Hydrodynamics.

The Faculty of Engineering congratulates Dr. Stolle on all his accomplishments and on receiving this prestigious award!

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