“I first came to Western University to complete my Master’s in 2009 for the opportunity to work with my supervisor and mentor, Dr. K.Y. Lo. I came back to do my PhD in 2013 because of the great experience I had during my Master’s degree, and I had the ability to work with great people on interesting research. My wife and I also love the lifestyle we have in the city of London.”
Supervisor: Dr. M. Hesham Hamed El Naggar
Describe your research in 100 words or less.
I am trying to provide updated design tools for more efficient construction of underground structures in the swelling rock of southern Ontario – as I tell my family: I study big holes in the ground.
Where’s your favourite place on campus to work?
I’ve greatly enjoyed my office. I have been incredibly lucky to have a small office that I’ve shared with a variety of excellent people. The ability to bounce ideas off of my peers is such an important aspect of learning and growing. I also like to walk when I’m wrestling with a difficult problem, and am very happy that the campus is so beautiful, especially by the river in the summer.
What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
The freedom to dive into a topic with the full support of my supervisor.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Two things: For engineering in particular, get some industry experience. It will really open your eyes about the topics you cover in graduate level courses. The second is that you should get to know your supervisor before you commit to research with her/him. You will be spending a lot of time and energy working with that person, so you need to know you can work well together.
Have you worked as a TA or RA?
I have worked as a TA for several years, and it has been a great experience. It is a whole different level of knowledge required to teach than to just practice a subject.
What are you most passionate about?
I am a geotechnical engineer, and I am very passionate about it. It is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions and I am so happy that I can be a part of it.
What one thing would you like people to know about you?
If you ask me for my help, and really put effort into your work, I will work as hard as I can for you.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have a pregnant wife, a two-year-old, and a dog, I work part time and I’m doing my PhD research, so I don’t have huge amounts of free time. When I do have time alone, I’m a huge fan of dumb action movies and B-List movies. I also love playing board games and card games.