Securing Water Resources in Ethiopia

A $4.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow University of Connecticut researchers to collaborate with colleagues around the world in order to help local governments and communities in Ethiopia’s Blue Nile river basin better manage their agricultural and water resources.

The funds, released today, come from NSF’s Partnerships in International Research and Education or PIRE program.

“This grant will position the University of Connecticut as a global leader in the multidisciplinary field of water and food security,” says Provost Mun Choi. “We particularly value the quality of scientific and cultural exchanges that are made possible through the PIRE program for students, faculty, and researchers from UConn, Ethiopia, and other international universities.”

Read More @ UConn Today

Up Close — Impulsive Ingenuity: Arash Zaghi

By Mary Lord

Just 34, Arash Zaghi can point to a string of achievements. After graduating at the top of Iran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology, he worked as a project engineer in Tehran while earning a master’s in earthquake engineering. Arriving in the United States, he whipped through a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno in just three years. There, he developed a seismic-design method for a novel connection detail that was incorporated in the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

Joining the University of Connecticut in 2011, Zaghi soon won back-to-back awards for teaching excellence. He also established a research lab to study the design of multihazard-resilient infrastructure, launched a start-up, and filed for a patent for an ingenious bridge-column system. His latest endeavor, however, veers sharply away from roads and girders. It’s based on a discovery about himself.

Three years ago, Zaghi was diagnosed with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Now, backed by a two-year, $150,000 Research in Engineering Education grant from the National Science Foundation, he is studying the creative thinking and risk-taking potential of engineering students with and without ADHD and identifying obstacles to success. “This project has the potential to improve education for all students and transform the way we teach engineering,” says Zaghi. He argues that risk-taking, impulsivity, procrastination, and focus problems – common traits in the 4 to 7 percent of the population who have ADHD – often coexist with significant talents. Properly steered, these talents can spark the “revolutionary change” needed to solve such “broad, complex problems” as cybersecurity or global climate change, he says.

Read More @ American Society for Engineering Education: PRISM