New energy.
Fresh perspectives. Boundless enthusiasm. Multifaceted expertise.

Meet the seven newest faculty members in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Hailing from far and near and representing each CECS department, they may have diverse experience, but they also have a lot in common: a love of teaching, a passion for research and genuine excitement about joining the CECS community.

Their hiring reflects the rapidly growing enrollment in the CECS, as well as recent faculty retirements. But it also signals some new directions for the college. All specialize in emerging fields within engineering and computer science, and four are keen to pursue research and develop courses in different aspects of sustainability, renewable energy and energy efficiency, making for a dynamic synergy that promises to multiply the options for students eager to enter these cutting-edge areas.

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Jimmy ghandi

For Shereazad Jimmy Gandhi, assistant professor of engineering management, joining the CECS faculty is something of a homecoming. After completing his undergraduate studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology, he earned a master’s degree in engineering management at CSUN before heading to Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, where he earned his Ph.D. and remained afterward as an adjunct faculty member and a postdoctoral researcher. He then became an associate adjunct professor at Baruch College in New York City. Gandhi brings a collaborative perspective to the classroom and his research. His postdoc was in sustainability in the global supply chain, but broadly defined to include environmental, economic and social sustainability. “Social sustainability is something we don’t clearly understand, and because we don’t understand it, not enough work is being done on it,” he says. Gandhi hopes to continue working on all aspects of sustainability. He also does research in quality management as well as engineering education and is actively involved with several professional organizations such as ASEE and ASEM. As to his return to CSUN, he notes, “I see myself coming in at time when a lot of changes are happening. What I love about CSUN and the college is that people are open to new ideas. If I make recommendations that will provide value and I can justify my ideas, I know I will have my colleagues’, department chair and dean’s support.”

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Vibhav Durgesh

It probably says a lot about Vibhav Durgesh that just for fun, he recently made a remote control for his TV and music system. The assistant professor of mechanical engineering straddles many fields. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in India, Durgesh earned a doctorate from the University of Wyoming, then took a postdoctoral position at Michigan State University, where he worked in experimental fluid dynamics, using optical techniques to study how blood flows in brain aneurysms. He was also a postdoc at the University of Wyoming, where he studied the effect of wind on wind turbines, designing control systems so they could operate optimally. Most recently, he was at the Pacific Northwest National Lab, working on tidal energy. He has always been interested in teaching and research, however, and the combination of the LA area and CSUN’s diverse student body and research opportunities in renewable energy proved irresistible. His first CSUN classes will be graduate and undergraduate labs in fluid dynamics, but eventually he hopes to introduce new classes in experimental fluid dynamics. If things work out the way he anticipates, he’ll also be heading off campus to teach. “I’m very interested in volunteer service—teaching underprivileged students,” he says. “I think there are a lot of needs in that area.”

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Ehsan Shameli

Ehsan Shameli, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is similarly adept at crossing disciplinary lines—in fact, it’s inherent in his focus. Shameli, who did his undergraduate work in Iran and earned his doctorate from University of Waterloo in Canada, is an expert in mechatronics engineering—the intersection of electrical and mechanical engineering. His interest started in graduate school, when he developed a small robot working with magnetic levitation and had to do the electrical engineering as well as the mechanical design. After graduate school, he worked for a consulting company in Canada and was awarded a research grant by the Science Foundation of Canada. In 2010, he came to the U.S. to work for a consulting firm in the Bay area. Shameli always wanted a faculty job, however, and because of family ties in Southern California, CSUN was a perfect choice. “I really like the college because people are very friendly,” he says. “I like interacting with students, and I like to work in intellectual place like a university, where I can teach and learn at the same time.”

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Kourosh Sedghisigarchi

For Kourosh Sedghisigarchi, assistant professor of electrical engineering and an expert in the smart grid, alternative energy, power electronics, electric vehicles, energy management systems and distributed generation, California–and especially CSUN–is an ideal place for professional growth. Sedghisigarchi graduated from Sharif University of Technology in Iran, then earned his Ph.D. at West Virginia University. After completing his doctorate, he remained at WVU as a research professor and then assistant and associate professor and also worked at WVU’s Advanced Power and Electricity Research Center. There, with a grant from the university, he established alternative energy and power electronics labs. Despite that support, all it took was one visit to CSUN to convince him that it was a perfect fit. “I really liked the roadmap and vision for the coming years,” he says. “The faculty were so friendly, and I was inspired by the department chairman and his ideas, and then the dean.” Equally convincing were CSUN’s Energy Research Center and California’s leadership in supporting renewable energy technologies. A big proponent of undergraduate research, Sedghisigarchi is looking forward to continuing at CSUN the momentum he started at WVU, advancing his research, teaching smart grid and renewable energy technologies and combining theory with hands-on, real-world work for his students.

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Adam Kaplan

Adam Kaplan, assistant professor of computer science, is no stranger to CSUN. Not only is his brother an alumnus of the university, but fellow computer science faculty member Ani Nahapetian has been a friend since their days at UCLA, where he earned all three of his degrees. Immediately after receiving his bachelor’s degree, Kaplan worked in the dot-com world, but he had been out of school only about two months when the field crashed. He floated from job to job, then returned to UCLA for a master’s degree. Working as a TA, he became so enamored of teaching that he decided to make it his career and went on to earn a Ph.D. Like Nahapetian, he taught at CSU Dominguez Hills before he was offered the position at CECS. His research interests are diverse: chip design, computer forensics and mobile apps. In particular, he is interested in developing technology to assist persons with disabilities, and he envisions training students to become entry-level computer forensics and computer security professionals. In the area of mobile apps, he is exploring ways to transcend individual frameworks to design mobile web pages that serve all devices, so developers only have to write software once. As to joining CSUN, Kaplan says, “I feel like I’ve won the lottery.”

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Rais Ahmad

Rais Ahmad, assistant professor of civil engineering, is a true citizen of the world. He completed his undergraduate and his master’s degrees in his native Bangladesh, then came to the United States to earn his doctorate from the University of Arizona. During those years, he traveled to Paris for a research program and was awarded a French Ministry of Education fellowship to conduct research, which led to his authorship of two book chapters. After graduation from the University of Arizona, he joined a consulting firm as a structural engineer, then returned to Bangladesh to teach before coming to Pasadena to work as a senior structural engineer for an engineering firm. For the past two years he has been an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut. His primary research interest lies in monitoring the structural health of buildings, mostly underground pipes, using a guided wave technique he developed that sends acoustic signals and then processes them to determine if there are any abnormalities in the signals. He also works on sustainability and energy-efficient design. As someone who values design as much as teaching, he is looking forward to continuing both because, he explains, his consulting work informs his teaching, keeping it interesting and enabling him to relate what goes on in the real world to his students.

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Emad Elwakil

Emad Elwakil, assistant professor of construction management, wasn’t sure what to expect when he joined the CECS faculty last January. Although he had been in North America for four years, earning his doctorate from Concordia University in Montreal, he had never been to the United States. To his delight, he discovered a professional environment where his colleagues treat him like family and have helped him make the transitions from Canada to California and from postdoc to full-time faculty member. Elwakil earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Zagazig University in 2002 and 2006, respectively, before heading to Montreal and Concordia for his Ph.D. and then to CSUN. An expert in the new field of construction simulation, which creates computer models to avoid problems with the construction process and save time and money, Elwakil is pleased that he took a chance and joined the CECS faculty. “It’s a very good program, and when I read about it and learned it was growing, I felt I could achieve something excellent from it,” he says.