Dr. Deo Chimba, students and other faculty Spearheads a Remarkable Attendance at the 2024 TRB Annual Meeting in Washington DC.


TSU Engineering Team won 2nd place in 2023 TN Engineers’ Conference: A group of 9 students from TSU Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering including Ms. Denise Borja, Mr. Beatrice Magombana, Ms. Dorcas Machimu, Ms. Mercy Sammy, Ms. Doris Atieno Noah, Mr. John Amann, Mr. Gregory Hobbs, Mr. Zachary Archer and Mr. Zachary Lanier truly came together as a team to take second place out of 8 different universities in the Tennessee Engineers Conference (TNEC) Student Competition. The students were accompanied by Mr. Deondre Davenport, Coordinator of Recruitment and student services and Dr. Ranganathan Parthasarathy, TSU ASCE faculty advisor. The conference took place at the Franklin Marriott Hotel in Cool Springs and was organized by the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE). The conference featured several excellent professional development talks centered around Engineering Management, Civil, Environmental, Transportation, Geotechnical, Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial Engineering. The student competition was held in the afternoon session and had one qualifying round and one final round. It was organized by Ms. Ashley Smith, Principal, Project Management and Commercial Leader at CDM Smith, Mr. Wesley Goodnight, Project Manager at Ensafe Inc., and Evan Boulanger, Stormwater Design Manager at City of Memphis. The qualifying round required the students to build the tallest possible sand structure using damp sand and two sheets of A4 paper in 20 minutes. The structures were judged by the maximum height reached and their stability. The TSU team managed a height of 13 inches, which took them to the final round. In the final round, the teams were required to construct a bridge using 2” X 1” X 0.5” wood blocks across an A4 sheet that represented water with two vertical blocks as supports on either side. Points were assigned for the stability of the bridge, for the number of unused blocks, and its load carrying capacity in terms of the same blocks. The TSU team built a stable bridge which was able to carry 1 block, and had 2 unused blocks for its construction, which put them in second place, with Lipscomb taking first place, and Vanderbilt, third place. The TSU team demonstrated their engineering skills, resilience, teamwork, and competitive spirit. They received a plaque from the judges and will also be receiving a cash award soon. The TSU students also utilized the conference for professional networking with various companies from the areas of stormwater management, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, surveying, and others.


Dr. Deo Chimba: A Luminary in Transportation Engineering Research: His accomplishments extend far beyond the classroom—spanning pioneering research, a substantial track record in securing grants, interdisciplinary collaborations, and fostering the next generation of engineers. Dr. Chimba's research contributions are pioneering, encompassing areas from traffic analysis, highway safety studies, traffic incidents, railroad, freight, non-motorized to intelligent transportation systems embedded with his extensive application of microsimulation, statistical modeling, data analytics, machine learning, and computer vision. Over the last decade, he has secured over $4.8 million in external research grants through TDOT, DHS, USDOT, FRA, NSF, FHWA. His team includes Innocent, Al, Bryson, Emmanuel, Irene, Jeannine, Aaron, Subash.


Dr. Shihui (Cindy) Liu has formed geo-material engineering research group at College of Engineering. Her group includes Dr. Yin, five PhD students (Mercy, Beatrice, Yongfei, Xinyu, Dandan), four master students (Dorcas, Kathy, Jose, Mahad). They are working on four awarded projects funded from NSF, Amazon, HUD, AMIE-LDAWP.  Any interested students can contact with Dr. Liu ( for open positions.


Dr. Painter, Dr. Li and graduate students (Mercy, Amairanny, Doris, Richard) are working in their NSF neonicotinoid insecticides in water environment at Environmental Engineering Lab. They are using the LC/MS to detect photodegradation and hydrolysis of seven neonicotinoid insecticides and their daughter products at various temperatures, pH, surface water and groundwater. The project is one of NSF Excellence in Research grants for TSU. Five graduate students Rebecca, Amani and Emily, Sylvia, and Sanaz have graduated from this project. Dr. Yadong Li from Jackson State University is our collaborator, his team focuses on degradation of neonicotinoid insecticides in soil environment.


Fiscal Year 2023 National Summer Transportation Institute Program (June 4th – June 30th)
Professor Du hosts the fiscal year 2023 NSTI summer camp at TSU  and 20 high school students from 5 different states participated this year. The objectives of NSTI are to improve STEM skills, provide awareness to high school students about transportation careers, and to encourage them to consider transportation-related courses of study in their higher education pursuits. Students selected for this program will participate in enrichment and preparatory coursework in computing, mathematics and physics and will cover different aspects of transportation (AIR, LAND, and SEA). Activities will include hands-on labs, field trips and presentations by various professionals working in transportation related fields.


Dr. Nathan hosts the 2023 - 3D printing summer camp at TSU in July 4-14, 2023. There is more than 25 middle school students attend this camp.  The technology immersion program include solid modeling, 3D printing, coding, engineering design, material testing, and AI.  Thank all the middle school students who put in their enthusiasm, creativity and technical skills into the 2023 TSU Summer Technology Immersion Workshop and their parents for the support! Thank you all the teachers - Dr. Chris Wetteland, Mr. Paul Resch, Mr. James Williams, Dr. Mohammad Habibi, Dr. Carlos Beane, Dr. Charles McCurry, Dr. Abram Musinguzi, and the student volunteers, particularly Timothy Ulrich, for their passion and inspiration! We especially enjoyed the skits on 3D printing by the project groups! Thanks Dean Dr. Li for being the force behind the workshop! 

summer camp

Dr. Wang and her students attended the AEI 2023 Conference at Denver, Colorado, April 12-14. The students attended the conference to gain valuable experience in participating AEI design competition.


Civil Engineering graduate student Kayla Clanton was selected to The National GEM Consortium’s Annual Conference in Phoenix to present her summer research conducted with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory & U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) BTO. She had such an amazing time and met so many wonderful people. She was super grateful to have been amongst the top presenters at NREL as it awarded her this opportunity to showcase her work to others again. It was so nice to finally see some of her NREL cohort in-person after 2 years of remote work. Thank you GEM, NREL, DOE BTO and all of her mentors for their support. Kayla got her BS degree in AE, and is working for her master degree under Dr. Armwood-Gordon.


Graduate student Kehinde Omotayo presented two papers titled: Homogenization -based optimization of lattice structure using granular micromechanics approach and the second paper was on Design of tensegrity structures for phase transformation leading to energy dissipation at the “Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) 2022 Conference” that took place at The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. It was a great opportunity to meet professors, professionals, and students. Thank for his advisor Dr Ranganathan Parthasarathy.


Civil Engineering Senior student and NSF PROMISE Scholar Jose Portillo is joining the Federal Highway Administration through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s STIPDG (Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups). He is very grateful to have this opportunity to learn and work with the FHWA's Long-Term Bridge Performance Team!


Civil Engineering Senior student and NSF PROMISE Scholar Ethiopine Choping is now at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign doing research for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Learning computational chemistry and wrapping it into Civil Engineering. She is also working for Dr. Chimba for transportation research. Love Learning. She is a scientist at heart.


Tennessee Chapter Intelligent Transportation Society of America 2021 ITSTN Student Scholarship to graduate student Hellen Shita. Hellen is working with Dr. Deo Chimba. The scholarship is one of two awards per year.  Mercy Sammy receipted 2022 ASHRAE Nashville Chapter scholarship. ACEC Tennessee & Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers announced 2022 scholarship to Civil Engineering Student Jose Portillo. Congratulation to Hellen, Jose, and Mercy. 

Civil Engineering students visited TDOT Material Division in April 2022 with Dr. Cindy Liu. TDOT engineer Joseph Kerstetter spoke to students for the lab activities and career opportunity in the materials division.


2021-2022 ASCE Scholarship Program: The Nashville Branch is pleased to announce the following civil engineering TSU students as this year's recipients: Congratulation to Ipek Isamel and Jose Portillo.


TSU Civil & Architecture Engineering students visited the One 22 One building, a new landmark of Nashville, on March 31, 2022, with the kindly help of General Contractor Brasfield & Gorrie.

Du Du Du

TSU Civil & Architecture Engineering students attended the 13th Annual Project Management Symposium hosted by Vanderbilt University, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Construction Management Graduate Program . The topic of the year is Nashville: Persevering To Maintain Growth.
The students and faculty from left to right are Shady Hanna, Jose Portillo, Kang Du, Ethan Sanders and Ahmed Elezeb.


Dr. Chimba and his two students Hellen Shita and Ethiopine Choping presented technical papers at Tennessee Section Institute of Transportation Engineers (TSITE) at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville on 2/23/2022.


Dr. Lin Li, interim Dean, has been highlighting by University 2020 Research Horizon for his new awards.


Dr. Chimba, transportation faculty has lead five TRB minority fellow to attend TRB conference at Washington DC in January 2022. The five students are Jeannine Mbabazi, Jose Portillo, Ethiopine Choping, Joi Robinson, Bahati Chimba. Graduate student Hellen Shita and PhD student Grace Mbiaji also attended the conference, and presented their research in oral presentation or poster presentation.


Dr. Chimba is being highlighted in 2021 University Research Sponsored Program for his transportation research. It is the second time highlighted by the university research sponsored program.


Jose Portillo is our senior civil engineering student. He is holding NSF S-STEM scholarship as transfer student from community college and TAKEOFF scholarship for his pursuing a degree and career in the homebuilding and construction industries. Congratulation to Jose to have his 1st TRB paper selected for ORAL presentation and TRR publication.


BRASFIELD & GORRIE, L.L.C. Dave Livingston, Caroline Elliott and Chelsey Searcy visited the Department on October 22, 2021. They introduced the company and discussed the internship, co-op program, teaching help and field trip support with civil and architectural engineering faculty. They provided lunch treat with faculty. In the past, BRASFIELD & GORRIE, L.L.C. provided guest lectures to our construction related classroom. Mr. Livingston has shared his experience in construction management and BIM experiences.

Smith Seckman Reid, Inc provided a donation for the 2021 canoe team. Mr. William Loeffel encourages students team to start early.  Thanks for SSR Inc. Support.

Michael Sullivan, PE., Executive Vice President of Gresham Smith and Partners Inc, Dante Ferguson (TSU CE Alumni, 2019), John D. Brew, P.E. (TSU Practitioner Advisor) came to TSU to meet with ASCE student chapter and concrete canoe team. They provides a donation for the canoe team and encourage them to work hardly.  Thanks for Gresham Smith and Partners Inc. Support.


Dr. Lin Li won 2021 Peter G. Hoadley Award for Outstanding Engineering Educator (ASCE Tennessee Section),  Congratulations!

TSU CE alumni Preston Wilson (2002 BS) met with CE and AE senior students on 9/16/2021. Mr. Wilson is working at FHWA. He discussed the dam safety program and gave a summary of career development in engineering. He emphasized the engineering license (PE) in future career and encouraged students to get their licensure. There was a lot of interactions between students and Mr. Wilson.


Graduate students and Dr. Li attended 2021 Dam Safety Conference at Music City Center, Nashville, TN. PhD candidate Decan Yang, Israr, Khaibarullah and Sylvia Kirwa joined this meeting. The conference is hosting by ASDSO. The students attended the concurrent series session and met with alumni and industry engineers.


Civil Engineering Junior Student Jose Portillo worked as summer intern at TDOT,


Civil Engineering Junior Student Nazeer Ferguson has been selected as City of Tucker interns for his work in Summer 2021.


Civil Engineering Senior Student De’Asia Hamilton has been selected as PCS interns for her hard work in Summer 2021. She can apply what she has learned in class to real-world situations.


Congratulation to Jose Portillo to receive 2021-2022 Takeoff scholarship. The scholarship is established by Fred Perry and Gifford Shaw to assist current undergraduates pursuing a degree and career in the homebuilding and construction industries. As Hispanic student, Jose is rising senior student in civil engineering program at TSU.


Congratulation to Rebecca Ransom and Kehinde Omotayo to receive 2020-2021 Kentucky/Tennessee Sections of AWWA and CWP scholarship.


Civil Engineering Student Dominique Wallace won the Yvonne Y. Clark Excellence In Engineering Scholarship. Congratulation to her achievement.


2021-2022 ASCE Scholarship Program: The Nashville Branch is pleased to announce the following civil engineering TSU students as this year's recipients: Congratulation to Maya Mayes to this honor scholarship.


Dr. Lin Li has been selected as the 2021 ASCE Nashville Branch Outstanding Engineering Educator! Congratulations!


Thanks for generous supports from Tennessee Road Builders Association for 2021-2022 Scholarships to our civil & architectural engineering students. Supports also come from Brogdon Family, Wilson & Associates, and Oman Systems in Memory of Jack A Oman, Past President Of TRBA.


ASCE Student chapter at TSU organized civil and architectural engineering students to visit Brasfield & Gorrie LLC construction site at Downtown Nashville on April 16, 2021. Ms. Caroline Elliott gave students a tour of the building. Dr. Li attended the field trip with students.


Architectural Engineering Student Saly Elsols won Michael J. Saunders Scholarship from American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in 2021. Congratulation to Saly. Thanks for Dr. Wu advising of this student chapter.


Dr. Deo Chimba and Dr. Andrea Gardiner Receives Department of Homeland Security Research Grant of $470,000 in “Transportation Resilient Under Catastrophic Events (TRUCE)”. Dr. Chimba is PI of the new grant from 2021-2024. Research assistantship is available for any interested freshman. Please contact with Dr. Chimba at .

Turner Construction Inc. hosted Engineering students from Tennessee State University in Feb 5, 2021 to have a field trip. Superintendent Jimmie Jones led the tour and taught students what goes into constructing a building in downtown Nashville, along with helping them to gain further insight on careers in construction.


Alfred Benesch & Company donates a plotter to the Architectural Engineering Program at TSU. Thanks for Vice President McCoy Sammie, Steve VanCleave,  and Kenneth Perkins. Kenneth is ASCE Nashville Branch President in 2021. The company was established in 1946 as a structural engineering firm, Benesch is a leading consulting engineering firm that provides an expanded range of services including transportation, aviation, water resources, railroad, geotechnical, environmental and value engineering to transportation and infrastructure development clients throughout the United States. Benesch’s firm-wide resources have grown to include 600 employees and continues to serve a broad range of markets with an exceptional level of customer service that is value focused, community minded and quality driven.


ASCE and AEI Student chapter at TSU organized civil and architectural engineering students to visit Brasfield & Gorrie LLC construction site at Downtown Nashville on November 6, 2020. Ms. Caroline Elliott and Project Manager Mike gave students a tour of the building. Dr. Li attended the field trip with 16 students.


Civil Engineering Junior Student Maya Mayes is spotlight student intern selected by TSU CDevC, for her Summer 2020 intern at Michigan DOT


2020-2021 Federal Highway Administration’s Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP)  is pleased to announce the following Civil Engineering TSU students as this year's recipients: Congratulation to KeAnna Dakwa and Khaibarullah Israr.


College of Engineering receives $1 million grant to benefit community college students

Dr. Lin Li and Dr. Roger Painter Receives a NSF Major Research Instrument Grant along with Dr. Lonnie Sharp, Dr. Ying Wu, and Dr. K. Addesso in $200,000 grant of “MRI: Acquisition of a LC-MS/MS for Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies and Training at Tennessee State University”. Dr. Li is PI of the new grant from 2020.09-2023.08.

Dr. Lin Li and Dean Hargrove Receives a NSF S-STEM Grant along with Interim Dean McMurray in $1,000,000 grant of “Promoting Recruitment and Retention of Minority Transfer Students in Science & Engineering (PROMISE) Program through STEM Scholarships”. Dr. Li is PI of the new grant from 2021.01-2025.12. If you are interested to transfer from community college to TSU College of Engineering BS Engineering and Computer Science, please contact Dr. Lin Li at for the chance of this S-STEM scholarship.

Dr. Wentao Wu and Dr. Lin Li Receives a TBR Education Grant in $49,280 grant of “Implementing Undergraduate Research Projects in STEM Education to Enhance Student Engagement and Close Retention Gaps”. Dr. Wu is PI of the new grant from 2020.07-2021.06.

Dr. Lin Li published a new book “Hydraulics of Levee Overtopping” in CRC Press. This book presents a cutting-edge approach to understanding overtopping hydraulics under negative free board of earthen levees, and to the study of levee reinforcing methods. Combining soil erosion test, full-scale laboratory overtopping hydraulics test, and numerical modeling for the turbulent overtopping hydraulics, it provides an analysis that integrates the mechanical and hydraulic processes governing levee overtopping occurrences and engineering approaches to reinforce overtopped levees. Topics covered surge overflow, wave overtopping and their combination, full-scale hydraulic tests, erosion tests, overtopping hydraulics, overtopping discharge, and turbulent analysis.



Dr. Armwood-Gordon has attracted over $1,000,000 in 2019 based on RSP office report today. Congratulation to her achievement! 


Dr. Chimba just won the FHWA’s Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship Program (DDETFP). His award will support our students in a scholarship of up to $10000 per year of scholarship money including attending and presenting at TRB meeting.  Go Tiger Transportation!



2020-2021 ASCE Scholarship Program: The Nashville Branch is pleased to announce the following civil engineering TSU students as this year's recipients: Congratulation to Maya and Beatrice:

Maya Mayes

A native of Atlanta, Georgia and studying at Tennessee State University. She serves as the executive chairman of ASCE, the publications chair of National Society of Black Engineers, and the revamp chair of Society of Women Engineers. Maya is interested in a career in transportation engineering.


Beatrice M. Cherop

Born in Nairobi, Kenya and currently in a Transportation Engineering graduate program at Tennessee State University.  Her studies include research on traffic crashes on two-way lanes in Davidson and Shelby counties, and a bio-mediated geotechnical program. Beatrice plans to incorporate innovative technology into safer and more convenient transportation facilities.



TSU Concrete Canoe Team (Wyatt Baxter, Joshua Stokely, Daniel Reed, Mina George, Vatsal Patel, and Khalid Alasem) finished the canoe on 3/11/2020 and shipped to Orlando to attend the 2020 ASCE Southeast Student Conference. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was cancelled.



Dr. Lin Li, graduate student Beatrice Cherop and former student Jacki Wen presented their paper “Enhancement of Bio-Sandy Brick through Discrete Randomly Distributed Fiber” at ASCE GeoCongress 2020 Conference at Minneapolis on February 28, 2020. Ms. Cherop also discussed with ASCE student chapter leaders to organize a graduate student chapter at TSU.


Dr. Painter met Dr. Yadong Li from Jackson State University to discuss their NSF Neonicotinoid research on March 9, 2020. Dr. Lin Li and graduate student Emily Harris and Amani Al Janabi joined the meeting at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory.



Undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Nathan Group: Alydia Young and Joshua Stokely attended the ORNL Conference in January 2020 and presented their poster.


HDR hosted an event to bring TSU students into their office to discuss the engineering career with them on February 3, 2020. TSU Alumni Addie Case helped to bring the connection. HDR HR and Engineers answered students’ questions and talked about what they do- civil, architectural, mechanical, electrical engineering. Dr. Armwood-Gordon attended this event with students. Great trip.


TSU Students Named Fellows of National Transportation Research Board Minority Student Program.


Civil Engineering graduate student Kahlil Andrew at TSU has been selected as TRB fellow and presented his research at the 99th annual Transportation Research Boarding Meeting in January 2020 at Washington DC.


ASCE Student chapter at TSU organized civil engineering students to visit TDOT Region 3 Office and Material Lab on January 28, 2020. The faculty advisor Dr. Li attended this event with students. Ms. Melanie Bumpus at TDOT arranged students to visit TMC, emergency truck, material labs. TDOT engineer Joseph Kerstetter and Michael Doran spoke to students for the lab activities and career opportunity in the materials division.


Dr. Chimba brought undergraduate student (TRB minority fellow) and graduate students (Suleiman Swai, Beatrice Cherop) to attend TRB conference at Washington DC. It is a honor to be selected as TRB Minority Fellow in the country wide. TSU is always the top university to have TRB Minority Fellow. Thanks for funding support from federal transportation agency and TDOT.


On October 25, 2019, TSU AE Alumni Alan Boleware from Barge Design Inc. and Jonathan Clark (PE, NCARB, AIA, LEED AP) met with architectural engineering students in their AEI monthly meeting and discussed the job career and the projects experiences. They encouraged students to take more engineering related design intern and seriously consider the FE exam. There were 15 students attending this event. Students asked many questions regarding to the software they used, and the career path they took.


On October 3, 2019, Kenneth Perkins, currently the President Elect for the Nashville Branch of ASCE and also the Technical Committee chair for the Tennessee Section of Institute for Transportation Engineers (TSITE), came to TSU to meet with senior students in the department. Kenneth is also TSU Civil Engineering alumni. He shared his experience in professional engineering career and the importance of licensure.


TSU Architectural Engineering Professor Martin brought six AE students to attend Penn State AE Career Fair on 9/24/2019. There is over 150 AE company in this career fair. The six students met the Penn State AE Dept. Head of Dr. Sez Atamturktur.  After the phone and onsite interview, some of six students received job offer.


TSU civil engineering graduate student Tinotenda Jonga published his bridge photo in the 2020 ASCE Bridge Calendar - December.  Representing TSU! Please see the link


On 9/19/2019, Architect John Tettleton and Dr. Armwood-Gordon brought 14 TSU Architectural Engineering Students to visit the TSU Health Science Building at TSU Main Campus.


On 9/20/2019, the Department holds the first time Open House with CE and AE students. Dr. Li host this event. Dr. Chimba, Dr. Painter, Dr. Nathan, and Dr. Gordon introduced themselves and advised students for more research opportunities. ASCE, NSBE, SWE, AEI student chapter representatives introduced their student chapter activities. Ms. April from PNNL introduced the summer intern program.


Dr. Lin Li and Dr Roger Painter Receives NSF Excellent in Research Grant along with Dean Lonnie Sharpe and Jackson State University in $1 M grant in “Fate and Transport of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Environment”. Dr. Li is PI of the new grant from 2019.08-2022.07. Research assistant ship is available for any interested MS and PhD students. Please contact with Dr. Li at

Dr. Armwood-Gordon joins with Washington State University to win a $7.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to lead a national university transportation center focused on improving the durability and extending the lifespan of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The grant is from 2019 to 2022.

Dr. Lin Li, as Co-PI, win $1M NSF HBCU-RISE Award to conduct bio-inspired soil improvements and self-sealing research in civil and structural engineering. The project is to support PhD student to study advanced functional materials and devices for biotechnology applications. Research assistant ship is available for any interested MS and PhD students. Please contact with Dr. Li at

4/10/2019, Senior Mechanical Engineer Mrs. Fengjuan Wang (PE) from Power Management Corporation gave a guest lecture for the MEEN 4200 Heating & Air Conditioning a guest lecture of HVAC practical design and career development. Professor Muhammad Akbar invited her to teach.



On April 2, 2019, Dr. Lin Li and Dr. Nathan invited 12 undergraduate students of Civil Engineering Program to visit Tennessee Department of Transportation Material and Testing Division at Nashville. Students toured their lab facilities to see structural materials, geomaterials, asphalt pavement materials laboratory.



Dr. Armwood, as Co-PI, win $1M NSF Award to enhance Graduate Engineering Education. Any new graduate student who want to apply NSF graduate fellowship, please contact with Dr. Armwood at



On March 12, 2019, Dr. Lin Li and Dr. Armwood invited 20 undergraduate students of Civil Engineering Program and Architectural Engineering Program to visit Turner Construction Site at Downtown Nashville. Students toured a 27 floors high-end apartment building to see the structural components and mechanical parts during the construction phase.



TSU Civil and Architectural Engineering Dr. Ranganathan Parthasarathy Collaborates with University of Kansas Institute of Bioengineering Research to study Dentin Adhesives



high standards


Prof. Chimba Research is reported in TDOT Research Roundup in September 2018 for his research “Freight Intermodal Connectors Study”



Prof. Chimba engages research in his Transportation Engineering, Planning and Safety Lab (TESP-Lab)



Civil Engineering, No. 1 in Job Growth

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