The beauty of academia is challenge, says Seyyed Alireza Hashemi
March 20, 2023
Seyyed Alireza Hashemi
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
Master of Mechanical Engineering, Applied Design
Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Solid Design
"UBCO is an inspiring place for minds to flourish with new ideas capable of addressing worldwide challenges.”
What is your PhD focus and why does it inspire you?
I’m working on advanced additive manufacturing, with the goal of developing programmable 3D-printed aerogels that can be used for electromagnetic shielding, environmental protection, human motion monitoring and energy preservation. The inspiring part of my research is the ability of the developed systems to go beyond the boundaries of state-of-the-art materials science. We could reach exciting results that could be the key to solving a set of global challenges, like the ever-growing rate of 5G and 6G telecommunication systems, or crude oil pollution in oceans and streams.
The aerogels framework we’re developing could mitigate the effect of hazardous electromagnetic waves on living creatures or sensitive electronic equipment by attenuating these waves. It could also serve as a potent oil absorber because of its porous structure, which can separate heavy oils from water sources. This porous structure also leads to the potential for thermal insulation capable of preserving heat and avoiding energy loss, which is crucial for energy-efficient infrastructure.
What’s the best advice you have for other students?
I can summarize this in three words: “Never give up.” Follow your dreams; your thoughts create your pathway, and you’ll become the person you see in your dream if you don’t forget those three words. Another thing that has been the key to my success is teamwork; change your attitude from “I” to “we” and work in a team.
Remember, spring will not happen with one flower.
Do you have a mentor? If so, how have they influenced you?
I believe each person requires a source of inspiration; someone who can provoke your mind about life and science, and steer you toward the right path. I’ve been very lucky to learn from capable mentors who taught me how to survive in both the academic and real world. I should send regards and thanks to my kind mentors, from the very first one who I met seven years ago at a conference, to the one that always feeds my spirit with the lessons of life, and I count the seconds to meet him again.
What are some challenges you’ve faced so far in your academic career?
Challenge is the beauty of academic and scientific work, and without these, life has no meaning. During my academic career, I faced many challenges, from living in a sanctioned and under-pressure nation to the global crisis that was COVID-19. However, despite these, I choose to fight, to stand up after each fall. These struggles strengthened me and motivated me to reach further in life.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
I have a beautiful dream in mind that I want to turn into reality. I want to become a university professor and mentor caring people who can transform the world into a more beautiful place. I want to help clean up the mess human beings have made on this lovely planet through new and practical ideas. I want to teach others how to think critically and how to observe their surroundings with a more detailed perspective. I also want to establish a technological company and bring advanced science into active use.
What do you think makes UBCO great?
Canada is the land of opportunities, and UBCO makes it even better for me. The university has an international and multidisciplinary nature, as well as advanced infrastructure and research facilities. There are knowledgeable and friendly faculty and staff, combined with the beautiful landscapes of the Okanagan Valley. UBCO is an inspiring place for minds to flourish with new ideas capable of addressing worldwide challenges.