The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is awarding its 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards to Robert W. Ivester ’91, ’93MS, ’96PhD and Banafsheh Seyed-Aghazadeh ’15PhD. Ivester will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, while Seyed-Aghazadeh will be presented with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
The Distinguished Alumni Award goes to “visionary leaders in their field. Recipients of this honor have reached exceptional levels of professional and personal achievement. This award recognizes distinguished leadership, service, teaching, innovation, and other exemplary accomplishments that positively impact society and the engineering profession.”
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to “emerging leaders in the early stages of their careers. Recipients of this honor are no more than 10 years out from receiving their UMass engineering degree. This award recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and highlights the recipient’s ambitions and potential to positively impact UMass, the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”
Ivester serves as the acting Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) director and the deputy director of the Hollings MEP Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The MEP National NetworkTM focuses its expertise and knowledge, as well as that of its partners (industry, educational institutions, state governments, NIST, and other federal research laboratories and agencies), on providing U.S. manufacturers with information and tools they need to improve productivity, assure consistent quality, accelerate the transfer of manufacturing technology, and infuse innovation into production processes and new products.
Ivester served at the Department of Energy for seven years, most recently as director of the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. FEMP oversees the implementation of policy and actions that result in energy efficiency implementation, renewable energy adoption, and reduction in energy and water use in federal government operations.
Ivester also served in the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) for six years. During that time, AMO launched five Manufacturing USA Institutes, the Critical Materials Hub, and hundreds of small R&D and technical assistance projects across the nation. He also worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology for over 16 years while leading and performing research in advanced manufacturing.
Ivester has been an instructor for the Johns Hopkins University Engineering for Professionals Program for graduate-level studies in manufacturing engineering since 2001. He is an SME Fellow and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Seyed-Aghazadeh is an assistant professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department and the director of “Laboratory for Fluid-Structure Interactions Studies” at UMass Dartmouth.
Before joining UMass Dartmouth, Seyed-Aghazadeh was the James R. Myers Endowed Assistant Professor at Miami University. She was a postdoctoral research associate and a lecturer in the MIE department at UMass Amherst and describes herself as “a proud UMass Alumna.” Before she received her Ph.D. from UMass Amherst, she earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from University of Tabriz, Iran, all in mechanical engineering.
Seyed-Aghazadeh’s research focuses on experimental fluid-structure interactions, work which combines fluid dynamics research with ideas from advanced nonlinear dynamics. Her team’s research activities are directed towards advancing the UMass role in building the blue economy through initiation of innovative and collaborative research at SouthCoast of Massachusetts.
Seyed-Aghazadeh is currently the faculty advisor and mentor for undergraduate and graduate mechanical engineering students at UMass Dartmouth. She is also serving as a steering committee member and STEM mentor for Million Women Mentor in Massachusetts and the faculty advisor for the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics student club at UMass Dartmouth. (April 2021)