Master of Many Disciplines

December 1, 2015

 Master of Many Disciplines

 Master of Many Disciplines

By Greg Abazorius

As a graduate of Wentworth’s Civil Engineering Technology program in 2004, Nakisa Alborz has witnessed transformative change in her alma mater. Now chair of the newly formed Engineering Department, she is heading one of the most versatile programs on campus.

“I just saw the position listed and was inspired to apply,” she says. “I’m so excited and there’s a lot to do.”

As an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Technology, Alborz had already found much success in 2015 when she was honored with the Technical Excellence Award at the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) International Annual Meeting. She is also the 2013 recipient of the AACE U.S. Scholarship, recently presented during the Massachusetts Building Congress Women’s Network event on campus, and is a LEED accredited professional with a specialty in building design and construction. She also earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering and Master of Science in Project Construction Management at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Alborz took a few minutes to discuss the Interdisciplinary Engineering Department and how it fits into Wentworth’s plans.

Why is engineering so important?
Students need to be dynamic and adapt to changing industry requirements. They need to be able to function differently and cannot work in silos anymore. A degree in engineering allows them to try different things and gain a varied set of skills for the working world. Collaboration and having a varied skillset are critical in engineering.

Does an interdisciplinary track provide more flexibility to students?
It’s easy for students to move in during the first year and not know exactly what they want to do. With this major, they can build their own engineering program. That first year they can try out the labs and interact with faculty. I recommend talking to professors as much as possible to find out what your passion is in life.

How has Wentworth changed since you were a student here?
I’ve seen faculty support services really grow here. We have a strong infrastructure in place for faculty and students to ensure both succeed in their efforts. Our students have the best resources available to them to ensure they achieve lifelong career success.

Of course, the physical changes have been great—the labs, the new buildings. I love it! There have also been new faculty members coming here in recent years with fresh ideas and lots of energy.

And EPIC (Externally Collaborative, Project-Based, Interdisciplinary Culture) has also been a game changer. That type of culture allows us to keep a connection between industry and academia, which is vitally important.

What are some of your goals for your department?
I’d like to add more study-abroad opportunities. I’d also like us to continue to increase the number of women and minorities in engineering through community outreach. Beyond that, I’d like to strengthen our current relationship with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston to increase the number of events we participate in such as U.N. and Space, U.N. STEAM events, and much more.

Additionally increasing the number of concentrations offered through the department such as our new offering in manufacturing, increasing our external collaborator pool, and immersing Accelerate and design thinking as much as possible in as many classes as possible to capitalize on this wonderful innovation resource we have on campus.

Below are photos of professors Nakisa Alborz, Peter Rourke, and Steve Chomyszak recently working with a class in the Manufacturing Center.

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