WOMEN in STEM: overcoming centuries of social bias in a world constructed by tumbling patriarchy

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, nolock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields encompass a variety of disciplines that greatly benefit the society and its members’ well-being, and transition to a wide spectrum of well-paying jobs. In 2013, The average salary of entry-level STEM jobs, ranging from computer programming to aerospace and civil engineering, was 66123$, 26% larger than non-STEM jobs. At the same time, the STEM graduates had access to 2.5 times more … Continue reading WOMEN in STEM: overcoming centuries of social bias in a world constructed by tumbling patriarchy

The art of social media in the classroom: the perfect excuse to play with your phone

For a long time, playing with your phone was (among) the greatest sins possible in the classroom, indicating a reluctance to the lecture and materials presented. With the growing use of social media and the ubiquity of phones, can this lurking enemy become classrooms’ friend? According to Alyssa Tormala and Shannon lee, It can; students are becoming more comfortable sharing on social media and although there is a tendency to exhibit the ideal self, educators have the opportunity to help students learn and make better choices through empowerment by a positive online community. The authors provide some practical examples: collaborative … Continue reading The art of social media in the classroom: the perfect excuse to play with your phone

Sometimes, you need to mix it up a bit.

As the US universities and higher education institutes are transitioning to online methods due to the widespread of COVID-19, I’m sitting here reflecting on this quote by the undying Salinger in his marvelous book “Franny and Zooey” which goes on as “An artist’s only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else’s.” What a better statement to express the challenges and beauty of combining every pedagogical tool to face the challenges of non-traditional issues such as this one? Consider the current status: We are all trying to practice social distancing to … Continue reading Sometimes, you need to mix it up a bit.

The Joy of statistical consulting: a case-based course in statistics

One of the most impactful classes that I have ever taken is the “statistical consulting” course by Prof.Richard Einsporn at the University of Akron. The course provided hands-on experience giving consulting to clients that will approach the center of statistical consulting at the university. Contrary to a traditional stat class, each session we would have a meeting to discuss the request of several clients and then would team up based on our preferences and projects needs to work in small groups. The responsible group then would follow up with clients as their own individual projects. Although There was no limitation … Continue reading The Joy of statistical consulting: a case-based course in statistics

Everyone is welcomed here!

Looking at the current political and societal climate in the US, it is more important that ever, to make sure everyone knows that they are welcomed in a classroom. This sounds as a common sense: while certain public figures and media outlets do not hesitate to divide us more and more everyday; to create a state of insecurity about certain groups of people, and to push their agenda, we have a responsibility to be more pro-active when it comes to the inclusion. However, the first step is to acknowledge hidden bias and privilege. If you have never “walked in their … Continue reading Everyone is welcomed here!

A look inside universities’ personality

During a recent lecture on graduate course on professoriate preparation, we are asked to look at mission statement of two higher education institutes. Being an alumni of the University of Akron (UA), a public school in Ohio, naturally I looked at my alma mater ‘s mission statement as the first one: “The University of Akron, a publicly assisted metropolitan institution, strives to develop enlightened members of society. It offers comprehensive programs of instruction from associate through doctoral levels; pursues a vigorous agenda of research in the arts, sciences, and professions; and provides service to the community. The university pursues excellence … Continue reading A look inside universities’ personality

Summer REU recap or How we nailed it!

It has been a while since my last blog post, and I wanted to write about the amazing REU stuff which happened this summer. I was blessed to be able to work with five exceptional undergraduate students from different universities in the US [I was going to call them young talents, but then I’m not that old to call others young] and faculty members of Virginia Tech as part of “the resilient and sustainable buildings” initiative.  In a course of 8-week period, we worked on two main thrusts of performance-based assessment seismic assessment data collection and sustainability evaluation for mid-rise … Continue reading Summer REU recap or How we nailed it!

Exponent Info Session: From Murrah building to Galaxy note 7

What Murrah building has in common with a galaxy note 7? One can say they both failed to perform as expected . The same person can also point out they both need engineers to figure out what went wrong. On February 28th, SEI graduate chapter of Virginia tech invited Dr. Osteraas, group vice president of Exponent Inc., and Andrew Hardyniec (VT Alumni working at Exponent) to talk about structural failure and how Exponent helps to “unravel the mystery”. The presentations were quite amusing and fun to listen to. Two interesting takeaways: Murray progressive collapse was due to the extra upward … Continue reading Exponent Info Session: From Murrah building to Galaxy note 7

REU opportunity at VT

“Resilient and sustainable building (RSB)” is a collaborative NSF-funded research project at VT to develop a comprehensive framework for the early design of mid-rise office buildings. The main goal of this project is to optimize office buildings performance in terms of economic constraints and environmental impacts. This summer, RSB is offering 4 paid undergraduate research positions to help with two ongoing thrusts of the project: structural analysis under natural hazards and environmental life cycle assessment. The anticipated duration of REU is 8 weeks and the interested applicants should be US citizen or permanent residents and enrolled in a US undergraduate … Continue reading REU opportunity at VT

A summary of SimCenter Workshop

Here is my take on what happened in SimCenter Bootcamp: Day 1: Peter (who is Peter?) showed how to use Unix, virtual machine, and Github to access files of the workshop and work with our own codes. In the afternoon, Frank (Okay, who is this one now?) gave us a short introduction to C programming. Day 2: Frank demonstrated some codes for parallelization of C codes using OpenMP and MPI.  Day 3: More on C programming; abstraction, clauses and a bit of structure and object-oriented programing in C++ Day 4: Peter showed us how to make a clean app interface … Continue reading A summary of SimCenter Workshop