Photo of Esther Obonyo

Esther Obonyo

Associate Professor


  • School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs
  • Engineering Design
  • Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Architectural Engineering

213 Hammond Building


Research Areas:

Building Construction, Engineering Design

Interest Areas:




  • BA, Building Economics, University of Nairobi, 1998
  • MA, Architectural Technology, University of Nottingham, 2000
  • Ph D, Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, 2004


Journal Articles

  • Donkor and Obonyo Esther, 2016, "Compressed Soil Blocks: Influence of Fibers on Flexural Properties and Failure Mechanism", Construction & Building Materials, 121, pp. 25-33
  • Esther A. Obonyo, Elie Kamseu, Patrick N Lemougna, Arlin B Tchamba, Uphie Mel and, Cristina Leonelli , 2014, "A Sustainable Approach for the Geopolymerization of Natural Iron-Rich Aluminosilicate Materials", Sustainability, 6, (9), pp. 18
  • Elie Kamseu, Maria Cannio, Esther A. Obonyo, Fey Tobias, Maria C Bignozz, Vincenzo M Sglavoe and Cristina Leonelli, 2014, "Metakaolin-based inorganic polymer composite: Effects of fine aggregate composition and structure on porosity evolution, microstructure and mechanical properties", 53, pp. 11
  • Esther A. Obonyo, 2013, "Enhancing Intelligent Knowledge Systems Using Organization-Centered Agent Models", Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, 27, (2), pp. 6
  • Esther A. Obonyo and Chimay Anumba, 2011, "Organization-oriented multi-agent systems for construction supply chains", Electronic Journal of Information Technology in Construction, 16, pp. 17
  • Esther A. Obonyo, 2010, "Towards Agent-Augmented Ontologies for Educational VDC Applications", Electronic Journal of Information Technology in Construction, 11, (2), pp. 21
  • Esther A. Obonyo and Peter Donkor, , "Earthen construction materials: Assessing the feasibility of improving strength and deformability of compressed earth blocks using polypropylene fibers", Article in Materials and Design, 83, pp. 7

Conference Proceedings

  • Erdogmus Ece, B Wagner, Linsey Rohe, Eric Garcia, A Shwer, Fabio Matta and Esther A. Obonyo, 2015, "Design of Compressed Stabilized Earthen Wall Systems for High-Wind Resistant Residential Unit Construction"
  • Esther A. Obonyo, Peter Donkor, Fabio Matta and Erdogmus Ece, 2015, "Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions in Low-cost Building Envelopes: A Case Study of Low-strength Masonry Systems"
  • Peter Donkor, Esther A. Obonyo, Fabio Matta and Erdogmus Ece, 2015, "Effect of Polypropylene Fiber Length on the Flexural and Compressive Strength of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks"

Research Projects

  • September 2015 - August 2016, "Jefferson Science Fellowship & Department of State," (Sponsor: National Academies).
  • September 2015 - December 2015, "Jefferson Science Fellowship & Department of State," (Sponsor: National Academies).
  • December 2017 -  , "Global Faculty Fellowship," (Sponsor: Penn State Global Programs Office).
  • May 2014 -  , "NSF Planning Visit: Pathways to Scale and Impact in Affordable Housing," (Sponsor: National Science Foundation).
  • January 2017 -  , "Understanding the Interdependency of Critical Infrastructure Systems," (Sponsor: College of Engineering Global Engineering Leadership Program).

Honors and Awards

  • Global Faculty Fellow, Penn State Global Programs Office, November 2016 - June 2017
  • Jefferson Science Fellowship, National Academies, August 2015 - August 2016
  • Jefferson Science Fellowship, National Academies, August 2015


Service to Penn State:

  • Panelist, NSF GRFP Information Session, Penn State, August 2016 - August 2016
  • Member, Tenure and Promotion Review, Tenure and Promotion Committee, August 2016
  • Chairperson, Faculty Search Committee, Penn State University, Humanitarian Materials Search Committee, August 2016
  • Committee Member, Search Committee Member, Penn State University, Frontier Faculty Search Committee Member, September 2016
  • Committee Member, College of Engineering Committee, Penn State University, Engineering Faculty Council, August 2016

Service to External Organizations:

  • Consultant, Capacity Development, PhilDev, September 2014 - December 2016
  • Peer Reviewer, Technical Committee, Construction Research Congress, N/A, December 2015 - December 2015
  • Chairperson, Conference Technical Committee, ASCE, ASCE Global Center for Excellence in Computing, November 2011
  • Coordinator, Book Co-Editor, CIB, January 2015



Widely acknowledged as one of the top Architectural Engineering programs in the world, the Penn State AE Department is dedicated to providing outstanding academic excellence to all of our students. The AE program is focused on preparing students and conducting research in the design, engineering, and construction of building projects.

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394