Grad Student Wins AWIS Educational Award


Toby Weber

The Association for Women in Science has given one of its 2010 Educational Awards to Cullen College graduate student Mona Meisami-Azad.

AWIS presents approximately 25 Educational Awards each year. Meisami-Azad is one of only three winners in the Predoctoral Award Category, which is reserved for students pursing an advanced degree in science or engineering.

Meisami-Azad is working toward a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering under the guidance of professors Karolos Grigoriadis and Matthew Franchek. Her studies and research focus on controls for complex engineered systems. Meisami-Azad has applied this work to diesel engine after-treatment systems with the objective of reducing harmful emissions, as well as wind turbines, where the goal is to increase the energy capture while minimizing structural loads.

“These systems are actively controlled, where the measurements from a number of sensors are used to make a decision on how to manipulate actuating devices to ensure that a set of design objectives are met considering the design constraints,” she said.

Meisami-Azad, who is on schedule to complete her Ph.D. by the end of 2011, has performed two internships with Ford Motor Company research and development and is currently an intern with Vestas, a Denmark-based wind turbine manufacturer with R&D operations in Houston.

Upon earning her degree, Meisami-Azad hopes to then land a research engineering position in the automotive or energy industry. “I’m interested in a position in the research and development department of a large company,” she said. “I’d like to be able to utilize the skills I acquire in my graduate studies and apply them in real-world applications including renewable energy systems.”


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