Graduate Students Recognized for their Work as Research and Teaching Assistants

| October 12, 2017

The Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering honors its best research and teaching assistants

Winners of the 2016-2017 Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant Awards. Photo/Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering held their annual Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant Awards ceremony on September 29. The winners for the 2016-2017 academic year are:

Qin Ba
Best Research Assistant – Civil Engineering

Qin Ba is a civil engineering PhD student advised by Assistant Professor Ketan Savla, a John and Dorothy Shea Early Career Chair in Civil Engineering. Ba is developing control and optimization tools for dynamic networks, such as transportation or power transmission, to improve their robustness and resilience.

Born and raised in Wuhan, China, Ba earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China in 2010, and a master’s degree in disaster prevention, reduction engineering and protective engineering from Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in Dalian, China in 2013.

PhD student Mahsa Moslehi, winner of the 2016-2017 Best Research Assistant Award, with Professors Burcin Becerik-Gerber and Lucio Soibelman. Photo/Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Farshid Hosseini
Best Research Assistant – Civil Engineering

Farshid Hosseini is a civil engineering PhD student working with Assistant Professor Bora Gencturk. Hosseini’s research focuses on next generation seismic resistant structural systems using high-performance materials such as engineered cementitious composites (ECC) and super-elastic alloys (SEAs). As part of his work, Hosseini tested several bridge columns and beam-column joints using a state of the art testing unit capable of applying complex loading scenarios.

Hosseini is from Iran and received bachelor’s degrees in both civil engineering and industrial engineering and management systems at and Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran, and a master’s degree in structural engineering at Sharif University of Technology in Iran.

Mahsa Moslehi
Best Research Assistant – Environmental Engineering

Mahsa Moslehi is an environmental engineering PhD student advised by Assistant Professor Felipe de Barros. Moslehi is working in the area of contaminant transport in heterogeneous porous media. Her research mainly focuses on smart stochastic hydrogeological modeling.

Moslehi started her PhD as a Provost fellow in 2013. Prior to her admission to USC, she earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Tehran in Iran. During her undergraduate study, she developed a novel optimization algorithm that has various applications such as large-scale structural optimization.

Rebecca Peer
Best Teaching Assistant – Environmental Engineering

Rebecca Peer an environmental engineering PhD student working with Assistant Professor Kelly Sanders, a Dr. Teh Fu Yen Early Career Chair. Peer is researching the U.S. electricity grid, focusing on the environmental repercussions of electricity generation in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and water impacts. The goal of her research is to develop a more environmentally resilient methodology for power plant dispatching in the face of our changing climate.

PhD student Rebecca Peer, winner of the 2016-2017 Best Teaching Assistant Award, with Professors Burcin Becerik-Gerber and Lucio Soibelman. Photo/Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Peer is from a small village in Quebec, Canada and came to study in the U.S. on an athletic scholarship for swimming. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Saint Francis University in 2014. She was admitted to USC in 2014 as both a Provost and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) fellow and received a master’s degree in environmental engineering in 2016.

Saba Khashe
Best Teaching Assistant – Civil Engineering

Saba Khashe is a civil engineering PhD student advised by Assistant Professor Burcin Becerik-Gerber, a Stephen Schrank Early Career Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Khashe’s research focuses on enabling human-building communication to promote pro-environmental behavior in office buildings.

She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Tehran in Iran, and a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with the focus on construction engineering and management from USC. Khashe was an intern architect at a construction consulting company during her undergraduate studies and worked as a computer-aided design (CAD) engineer at USC Facilities Management Services during her master’s studies.

Konstantinos (Kostis) Douligeris
Best Teaching Assistant – Civil Engineering

Konstantinos Douligeris is a civil engineering PhD student advised by Professor Costas Synolakis. Douligeris is working on developing codes to calculate the run-up of waves on different types of sloping beaches. For most of September, he has been participating in laboratory experiments conducted at the Oregon State University’s tsunami basin as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) project.

Born in Miami, Florida and raised in Athens, Greece, Douligeris earned a bachelor’s degree in rural and surveying engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. At USC, in addition to a PhD in civil engineering, he is currently working towards a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.