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Hamid Ghasemi

PhD Alumnus

Hamid joined SIGMa in August 2017 as a PhD student and advanced to candidacy in fall 2019 after successfully passing his qualifying exam. He received his BSc and MSc both in mechanical engineering from IKIU, Iran. His research interests are nanomechanics and multiscale modeling and simulations. of materials. (Google Scholar Profile).

Current position: Advanced Modeling Engineer - Data Scientist, Micron Technology, Boise, ID

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Sigmund Adrian Skinner

Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sigmund was raised in the beautiful Caribbean twin-island of Trinidad & Tobago. He is currently pursuing his BSc degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Howard University, Washington D.C.

Sigmund presented his research titled “Developing an Integrated Materials Design Paradigm Using Artificial Intelligence” at the 2018 Howard University’s Research Symposium and is currently learning and exploring different machine learning and deep learning algorithms for application in materials discovery.

Sigmund is a student member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and was a privileged recipient of the 2018 ASCE NCS Scholarship. He will be serving as Treasurer on the American Society of Engineering Education Board, HU Student Chapter, for the fiscal period 2018-2019.

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Dr. Hessam Yazdani, PE


Dr. Hessam Yazdani is a tenured associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and the director of the SIGMa Lab at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Dr. Yazdani specializes in experimental and computational multiscale mechanics, geotechnical engineering, reliability analysis, machine learning, and optimization. Dr. Yazdani has taught/teaches Advanced Geotechnical Engineering, Strength of Materials, Soil Mechanics, Foundations, Undergraduate Research, Introduction to Engineering, Civil Engineering Software and Design and Engineering Economics.

He received his BSc and MSc in civil engineering from the University of Kerman and his PhD from the University of Oklahoma in December 2015. (Google Scholar Profile)

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Emilda Gwerengwe

Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emilda is a rising junior Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Zimbabwe. She attended Northern Virginia Community College for one year before transferring to Howard University in fall 2017. Her research at SIGMa is on designing materials using artificial intelligence with a focus on developing data-driven models to predict the electrical and mechanical properties of polymer nanocomposites. In summer 2018, Emilda received an undergraduate research assistantship from the University of Arizona to participate in a research on the influence of defects on the properties of precast I-beams. Emilda is a recipient of the Artishia and Frederick Jordan Scholarship 2018-2019. She is also an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Howard University Chapter and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

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Alfred Ajani Walfall

Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Alfred is a rising junior civil & environmental engineering major from Prince George's County by way of Washington D.C. As well as being a full-time student at Howard University, Alfred is a member of Engineers Without Borders and Alternative Spring Break. He is a member of the American Concrete Institute, and National Society of Black Engineers. Alfred's research is on the atomistic-scale simulation of graphene.

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Camille Wallace

Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Camille is a junior Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Kingston, Jamaica currently attending Howard University. She is a Capstone Scholar and the recipient of the 2018 Harland Memorial Scholarship from the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Chapter Section (ASCE-NCS).  Her passion for structural design and community service led her to become the Coordinator for the Howard University Ambassadors of Engineering Volunteering Program and Vice- President of The ASCE HU chapter. As the Coordinator of the Ambassadors of Engineering program, Camille, alongside dedicated student volunteers, introduce to K-12 students different engineering disciplines through hands-on activities within the DMV metropolitan area and recently, the island of Jamaica. At SIGMa, she is involved in a project on the mechanical properties of carbon nanotube-filled polyethylene composites. Her excellent research work at Howard University led to her acceptance into the UC-HBCU Earthquake Resilience Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles where she continues to excel.

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Christopher Tilford

Former Undergraduate Research Assistant

Christopher is a freshman from Houston, Texas, currently pursuing a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. Christopher is a product of the Elkins High School Engineering Academy and has been exposed to the many engineering disciplines. His passion for engineering and community service equipped him to become a 9th class member of Howard University's Freshman Leadership Academy and a member of NSBE HU Chapter.

Christopher's research at SIGMa is focused on developing predictive models for the behavior and properties of 2D nanomaterials.

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