FEA Student and Alumni Conference emphasizes interdisciplinary work

Petra Raad

Staff Writer


The Faculty of Engineering and Architecture held its sixteenth Student and Alumni Conference (FEASAC) where alumni shared their experiences and students showcased their projects and research papers on Wednesday, April 19 and Thursday, April 20.

In his word, President Fadlo Khuri, MD, hailed the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture for dedicating its research and education to serve humanity.

“We are gathered in celebration today of what this faculty does so persistently and with such enduring regularity in  a range of engineering, architectural, and design fields that truly change things for the better; not just the faces of our societies and communities, but the very health of these societies, and the practicality of our lived-in environment,” Khuri said.

Interim Dean of FEA, Professor Alan Shihadeh, ScD, emphasized on the talent that FEA houses through its students, and how faculty members are nurturing this talent.

He acclaimed FEA’s influential alumni and highlighted the faculty’s concern to the well-being of humans and their dedication to bring about “a viable, livable, and equitable world.”

This year’s conference differs from its predecessors because its sessions are not set according to the departments’ disciplines.

“The organizing committee sought to foster conversations across disciplines through four cross cutting themes: Design & Conceptualization, System & Data Analysis, Safety & Environment, and Engineering for Life’s sake. The format this year is also different in that every session ends in a panel discussion with the presenters and audience,” said Shihadeh.

Shihadeh also thanked the organizing committee, composed of faculty, staff and students. He thanked Assistant Professor Reza Abedini, who designed the trophy awards.

Member of the Student Representative Committee, Natalie El-Khatib, also expressed her honor to represent her classmates at FEA during the event. She urged students to be more involved in events and conferences that AUB hosts.

The opening ceremony was concluded by the distribution of trophies to distinguished alumni and faculty members.

Distinguished faculty member, professor and architect Mona Harb, PhD, advised students to listen to their instinct, be receptive to opportunities, and encounter people.

Distinguished ‘66 alumnus and geotechnical engineer, Fadlo Touma, PhD, urged students to have an open mind and learn from others, even their competition.

Tony Haddad, ‘75 alumnus and electrical engineer, said that dreams cannot wait, instead his message is: if you have a dream and have the passion to drive it, leave everything and follow your dream.

The conference was concluded on Thursday, with an award ceremony held at Bechtel Building Terrace.

Dean Shihadeh and Provost Mohamed Harajli, himself an FEA faculty member, handed the awards to the students who wrote the best research papers and made the best posters.

During the ceremony, the Chair of the Conference Committee, Associate Professor Matthias Liermann, PhD, told Outlook that this is a student conference, which is why it gets exciting when students help with organizing it.

The students also had the idea of having trivia questions by the end of the sessions and to have the attendants answer them. Liermann found it a fun element.

“It put a smile on our faces,” he said.

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