STEM Professional of the week

Lyan I. Garcia Beltran      
U.S. Army's Engineer Research & Development Center

In her brief three years with the U.S. Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Lyan Garcia Beltran, has shown great promise in her role as Research Civil Engineer. She has applied herself diligently to establishing herself within the engineering community as an expert in matting systems for expeditionary construction. Her research work has been of the highest of quality and has consisted of the study of advanced material solutions to the prospect of reducing matting logistics, conducting full-scale field test sections with aircraft loading on mat systems and numerical modeling of the soil-structure interaction during aircraft loading. In development of material solutions, she has shown herself to be able to partner with sister organizations within the ERDC and leveraging military research assets.

Lyan was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and attended the Antilles Consolidated School System at Fort Buchanan Army Base, Puerto Rico. Excelling in math and science at a young age, she became part of the high school math club and took part in many competitions that helped her develop an interest in engineering as a career choice. With encouragement and full support from her parents, she entered the Civil Engineering program at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez. Lyan took advantage of all that college life had to offer, participating in student chapters of technical and honor societies, as well as taking advantage of internships that would further her career.

While in college, Lyan's areas of interest were transportation engineering and geotechnical engineering which where the main reasons she decided to apply for a summer internship with ERDC. She successfully completed two consecutive internships with ERDC, where she worked with a team of engineers, scientists and technicians who taught her the importance of communication and leadership. Upon her graduation from UPRM, she accepted a permanent position as a civil engineer in the Airfields and Pavements Branch, Engineering Systems and Materials Division, Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory.

During her career at ERDC, Lyan has specialized in the area of temporary portable pavement systems that can provide a structural medium for military aircraft traffic in contingency operations in theatre. She has served as principal investigator in over 10 full-scale evaluations of airfield matting systems to characterize their structural performance under simulated heavy military aircraft loads. Lyan is an active member of the Joint Airfield Surfacing Systems Working Group, a team consisting of representatives of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, dedicated to the improvement of current expeditionary airfield surfacing systems and to the development of new airfield mat system designs for the purpose of reducing logistics burdens involve with current designs that date back to the Vietnam War. She is also a member of the Airfield Damage Repair Working Group, a team that focuses on improving and updating technologies that could be utilized for repair of damaged airfield pavements.

Lyan is very active in her promotion of the Hispanic culture and traditions throughout the organization and the state, along with mentorship of both aspiring and Hispanic engineers. Her desire to continue her education and advance her career is shown through her excellence in graduate coursework and numerical modeling matting research in pursuit of a Master’s degree from Mississippi State University. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Lyan was honored with a STEM Military & Civilian Hero Award at the 25th Anniversary HENAAC Conference in 2013.

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