Meet the 2024 CEE Class of Future Faculty Fellows

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

Twelve Ph.D. students have been named to CEE's 2024 class of Future Faculty Fellows.  

In partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning, the program aims to build the next great generation of educators, starting by supporting and mentoring student research. Fellows receive a $1,000 stipend from the School, in addition to one-on-one mentoring with current Georgia Tech faculty. 

Meet them here:

Portrait of Meron Belachew


Ph.D., Geosystems Engineering

Research: My research focus is on nature-inspired solutions for subsurface excavation and exploration. I study nature's solutions for underground excavation and exploration with the aim of creating innovative solutions for tunnel engineering and soil investigation.

Career goals: I have always been passionate about teaching and hope to pursue a career in academia to further develop my interest for educating others. My goal is to continuously refine my teaching methods by finding innovative and effective ways of engaging and inspiring students. 

Fellowship plans: I plan to use the fellowship to support my conference travels as I progress into the final years of my PhD. With the fellowship's support, I will be able to attend key conferences to network with faculty and leading experts in my research area and beyond. This opportunity is crucial for initiating collaborations and establishing professional links, which are essential for enhancing  my current research as well as laying a strong foundation for my future career in academia.

Advisors: Chloé Arson and J. David Frost


Ph.D., Environmental Engineering

Research: My research focuses on the development of workflow for rapid characterization workflow for active microorganisms in the water environment using real-time sequencing technologies.

Career goals: My career goal is to serve both in the field and academia to advance and broadcast cutting-edge water treatment technologies benefiting the real world. As power of an individual is limited, I would like to achieve this goal by not only doing research myself but also by inspiring and educating generations of students who are willing to devote themselves into improving the water environment as environmental engineers and researchers.

Fellowship plans: I plan to allocate the fellowship into both teaching and academic development. The first would be towards organizing or participating in teaching workshops to gather feedback from students, facilitate the exchange of teaching experiences, and share diverse teaching techniques to improve teaching and mentoring skills for students with diverse backgrounds. The rest of the fellowship would be spent on professional conferences and workshops relevant to my field. This would not only expand my professional network but also deepen my understanding of academic research.

Advisor: Ameet J. Pinto

Portrait of Kaiqin Bian
Portrait of Huiying “Fizzy” Fan


Ph.D., Transportation Systems Engineering

Research: Transportation Network Resilience to Climate Change

Career goals: To become a faculty that advances our current understanding of network-level transportation resilience

Fellowship plans: I am teaching a course CEE 6702 as an instructor of record. In the meantime, I will be working towards graduation and job application.

Advisor: Randall Guensler


Ph.D., Ocean Science and Engineering

Research: Acoustic Emissions Analysis, Geothermal Energy, and Earthquake Hazards

Career goals: I plan to become a research professor to teach as well as run a research group.

Fellowship plans: I hope to continue teaching and improving my teaching skills.

Advisor: Sheng Dai

Portrait of Savannah Howard
Portrait of Mourin Jarin


Ph.D., Environmental Engineering

Research: I focus on developing alternative water disinfection technologies, performing customer discovery and market research, and translating that research for practical application.

Career goals: My career goals are focused on continuing to work with diverse teams and lead projects applying an entrepreneurial mindset to everything we do. I have benefited greatly from learning to have an entrepreneurial mindset during my doctoral degree.

Fellowship plans: My plans for the Future Faculty Fellowship are to engage directly with mentors at GT in the entrepreneurial, innovation, and leadership spaces to further my experience in teaching, coaching, and mentoring with this new approach.

Advisors: Xing Xie and Robert Simon


Ph.D., Civil Engineering

Research: Understanding the material, fatigue, and connection performance of wire arc additively manufactured (WAAM) steels through experimental testing so that WAAM can be implemented into building and bridge structures.

Career goals: My goal after graduation is to secure a tenure-track faculty position where I can continue to teach, mentor, and influence the progress of the structural engineering field.

Fellowship plans: Attend the Transportation Research Board’s Conference on Advancing Additive Manufacturing and Construction in Transportation in November of 2024.

Advisor: Ryan Sherman

Portrait of Hannah Kessler
Portrait of Yeseul Kim


Ph.D., Civil Engineering

Research: My research focuses on developing human-centered robot behaviors to support safe and efficient human-robot interaction in the construction domain.

Career goals: I would like to find an academic faculty position.

Fellowship plans: I'm planning to attend conferences.

Advisor: Yong K. Cho


Ph.D., Transportation Engineering

Research: Traffic Flow and Control

Career goals: As for now, my career objective is to immerse myself in academia by initially serving as a faculty member in the United States. Following this, I intend to return to South Korea to guide future generations of transportation engineers at my alma mater.

Fellowship plans: The Future Faculty Fellowship will provide me with an opportunity for professional development, particularly in enhancing my teaching skills and expanding my network within the academic community. I could make use of this fellowship to attend various workshops or conferences, where I can not only gain insights into the latest trends and methodologies in teaching but also engage with the community in my field. This would be an important step towards my long-term goal of becoming a faculty member.

Advisor: Jorge Laval

Portrait of Garyoung Lee
Portrait of Keunhyoung Park


Ph.D., Civil Engineering

Research: My research is mainly focused on the analysis of the damage status of a building that aligns with the purpose of structural health monitoring. Machine Learning and interval variable methods are cooperating to achieve the goal of damage detection and locating. 

Career goals: I am eager to link research to teaching in academics. Based on copious coursework experience with active research activity, I wish to guide students to the possibilities of Civil Engineering. 

Fellowship plans: The fellowship will support attending a workshop that is anticipated to benefit the thesis work hugely. The workshop will provide the opportunity to interact with colleagues from various backgrounds.

Advisor: Rafi L. Muhanna 


Ph.D., Civil Engineering

Research: My research focuses on 3D reconstruction of construction sites by fusing vision and lidar sensors, enriching information via GML format, for documenting and monitoring the temporal aspects of as-is construction scenes.

Career goals: My career goal is to become a faculty member, contributing to the construction community to enhance automation aspects in real sites.

Fellowship plans: Along the way, I aim to utilize this grant to attend global conferences, such as i3CE and ISARC, as opportunities to promote my research and network with future colleagues.

Advisor: Yong K. Cho

Portrait of Seongyong Kim
Portrait of Junyue "Holden" Wang


Ph.D., Environmental Engineering

Research: My research has focused on management of pathogens and organic contaminants, innovative physical-chemical processes, and advanced analytical techniques (e.g., ultrafast X-ray spec, laser flash photolysis, pulse radiolysis).

Career goals: I aspire to be an impactful mentor and educator, aiming to positively influence the lives of my students through guidance, support, and inspiration. Additionally, I aim to be a dedicated researcher whose work could address significant knowledge gaps, push the boundaries of engineering fields, and potentially contribute to transformative realms of environmental research.

Fellowship plans: Future Faculty Fellowship will help in the future prospects of my career and educational goals. I would like to spend the fellowship joining science conferences and seminars, to network with other scholars and improve my presentation skills.

Advisor: Ching-Hua Huang


Ph.D., Geosystems Engineering

Research: My research focuses on bio-inspired rock drilling, computational granular mechanics and flow in porous media.

Career goals: My goal is to be a professor, a role that allows me to do both research and teaching since I am into both of these two types of jobs.

Fellowship plans: I plan to attend online teaching courses offered by Coursera, with a focus on improving my inclusive teaching awareness and the utilization of novel technology for engineering teaching. I am also planning to attend conferences that will allow me to engage with fellow educators through roundtable discussions and workshop activities.

Advisor: Sheng Dai

Portrait of Yumeng Zhao