About Dr. Simmons
Denise R. Simmons, Ph.D., PE, PMP, LEED-AP, is an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida. She holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering and a graduate certificate in engineering education – all from Clemson University. She has over ten years of construction and civil engineering experience working for energy companies and as a project management consultant.
Dr. Simmons has extensive experience leading and conducting multi-institutional, workforce-related research and outreach. She is a leader in research investigating the competencies civil engineering professionals need to compete in and sustain the construction workforce. She oversees the Simmons Research Lab (SRL).
As a researcher, Dr. Simmons passionately pursues workforce research characterizing, expanding, sustaining, measuring and training the technical and professional civil engineering workforce in the US. The broader impact of this work lies in achieving and sustaining safe, productive, and inclusive project organizations composed of engaged, competent and diverse people. SRL is supported by four basic research grants, including a CAREER award, and one applied research grant — all funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and totaling over $2 million.
Dr. Simmons is a former project director of the National Summer Transportation Institute at South Carolina State University and Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station (SRESFS). Both programs were aimed at recruiting, retaining and training women and minorities in transportation, environmental science, and engineering and natural resources-related fields of study. As SRESFS director, she led a board composed of representatives from 29 colleges and universities and three federal agencies.
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About the Simmons Research Lab
The Overview of Simmons Research Lab is home to a dynamic, interdisciplinary mix of researchers who work together to explore human, technological and societal interactions to transform civil engineering practice with an emphasis on understanding hazard recognition, competencies, satisfaction, personal resilience, organizational culture, training, and social considerations. SRL members learn research methods appropriate for investigating human thinking, motivation, and learning. We bridge the gaps in language, background, and ways of thinking from the social sciences and higher education to civil engineering and the construction industry. Internally, we keep the team informed on topics ranging from important publications to read to upcoming birthdays of team members. Externally, we share our research findings through manuscripts, posters, oral presentations, social media, and other dissemination outlets. For more information, review the Overview of SRL file.