InTrans / Apr 29, 2021

InTrans graduate students flex skillset, win Leadership Award

Nazik Citir
Amir Malakooti

Two Institute for Transportation (InTrans) graduate students recently received recognition for their leadership efforts by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), a recognized independent representative body of graduate students at Iowa State University (ISU).

The GPSS hosts multiple awards each year. The Leadership Award, given to five winners annually, recognizes ISU graduate students who are actively involved in leadership roles.

One of this year’s winners was Amir Malakooti, a civil engineering graduate student with a co-specialization in intelligent infrastructure engineering and civil engineering materials. Malakooti’s research focus is on electrified infrastructure for sustainable and resilient winter maintenance operations. This year, he had the opportunity to showcase his current heated pavement research in full-scale at the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters in Ames under the direction of his major professor Halil Ceylan, the Director of the Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering & Research (PROSPER).

“This was a major project and leadership opportunity for me, since it required a lot of coordination between the ISU team, contractors, concrete suppliers, and Iowa DOT to give reality to the design. This demonstration project put my leadership skills to the test and taught me a lot of wonderful lessons,” said Malakooti.

Malakooti also serves as a senator for the Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) Department on the GPSS, the president of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Student Chapter, and treasurer and media manager of the Iranian Students’ and Scholars’ Association.

“I have had a wonderful leadership journey both in academic and cultural student organizations while pursuing my PhD at ISU.”

Nazik Citir was another recipient of this year’s GPSS Leadership Award.

Citir is pursuing a doctorate in intelligent infrastructure engineering and structural engineering. She is also studying under PROSPER Director Halil Ceylan. Her research background and interests involve using non-destructive techniques to assess pavement condition and evaluating pavement performance and structural capacities by developing artificial intelligence-based models and analysis tools to estimate their remaining service life.

Her interests have led to her involvement in two projects on the development of Iowa pavement analysis techniques (IPAT) and pavement structural analysis tool (PSAT) for Iowa local roads, funded by the Iowa DOT and Iowa County Engineers Association Service Bureau (ICEASB).

“These applied projects have given me invaluable experiences in managing big data, addressing transportation needs, and working closely with DOT and county engineers,” she added.

Citir holds several leadership roles in both professional and social organizations. Currently, she is a senator for the CCEE Department on the GPSS, vice president (former treasurer and forthcoming president) of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and event manager of the ACI Student Chapter.

“I enjoy being actively involved in all these organizations, but I am specifically passionate about serving SWE by organizing and being a part of collaborative events with other STEM organizations and by helping and inspiring young women to develop professionally.”

Both Citir and Malakooti would like to thank Dr. Ceylan for the guidance and all those within the organizations they’re involved with for the great and lasting partnerships.

More details about the GPSS awards are available here.