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



The School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) delivers effective engineering education through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. SEDTAPP offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs

213 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952