Rita Leal Sousa

Associate Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Areas: Tunneling automation, natural threat risk assessment, soil erosion, stochastic modeling

Rita Sousa is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at New York University in Abu Dhabi. She received her PhD in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her academic credentials also include an MS in Civil Engineering from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chausses in France, as well as a combined BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Instituto Superior Tecnico in Portugal. Before joining NYUAD, Sousa held Assistant Professor positions at Stevens Institute of Technology in the US and Khalifa University and Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as well as several Visiting Scholar appointments at MIT. She also has extensive industry experience in Europe and the Middle East as a consultant and geotechnical design engineer.

Sousa is an elected Executive Board Member and the Treasurer of the American Rock Mechanics Association (ARMA) Board of Directors. She is actively involved in several important committees in the field, like the Water Quality & Quantity Standing Committee at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Science Advisory Board and the ARMA Technical Committee on Tunneling. She has also been actively involved in organizing symposiums, such as the ARMA 2021: 55th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium.

Sousa's research primarily focuses on tunneling planning and automation, AI applications in heavy construction, stochastic modeling, and natural threats risk assessment. Her endeavors have been recognized with over USD 2 million in research grants from institutions like USDOT, ADEK, ADNOC, and a significant portfolio of published works. Some of her selected achievements include the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC, now ADEK) Award for Research Excellence, MIT Louis Berger Fellowship, FCT (Portuguese Agency for Science and Technology) Fellowship

Courses Taught