Environmental Engineering PhD earns scholarship from UB Engineering Alumni Association

John Coles of the UBEAA, Maliheh Karamigolbaghi and Dean Liesl Folks stand with each other beside a UB podium on a stage.

Karamigolbaghi (center) stands with comittee chair John Coles (left) and Dean Liesl Folks (right). Photo: the Onion Studio

By Peter Murphy

Published October 31, 2018

Maliheh Karamigolbaghi received the Professor Emeritus Howard Strauss Memorial Scholarship, the largest scholarship distributed by UBEAA. The scholarship rewards academically outstanding students who demonstrate leadership skills through involvement on campus and community activities as well as scholastic accomplishments.

Recognition for her leadership and accomplishments

“I believe you don't need to have a title, privilege or rank to be a leader; a leader is someone who influences the team in a positive and constructive manner.”
Maliheh Karamigolbaghi, PhD Candidate
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Karamigolbaghi, an environmental engineering student, applied for the award after discussing with her friends and office mates.

"My colleagues and friends told me that I have already shown those leadership skills; they encouraged me to apply," she says. The application process considered her leadership, research, academic outcomes and what she has done to provide benefits to the UB community. "I interviewed with five people from UB and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The committee chair told us that this year had the largest number of finalists. It was a very competitive process."

As a graduate student, Karamigolbaghi has served in leadership positions in a number of student clubs at UB. She is currently the vice president of UB's Environmental and Water Resource Institution (EWRI), a club for graduate students in the environmental engineering program. Additionally, she is a member of the Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Jarvis Hall graduate student committee. She previously served as secretary of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and was the first president of the Iranian Graduate Student Association (IGSA).

"I love to take the initiative to produce momentum in the work environment. The interesting point about all those clubs was that I was on the team when we initiated them at UB," she says, "I believe you don't need to have a title, privilege or rank to be a leader; a leader is someone who influences the team in a positive and constructive manner."

In her capacity as EWRI vice president, Karamigolbaghi has made a significant effort to introduce UB to communities outside of the University. "We hosted a group from Tsinghua University over the summer, and now I am organizing visits with IIT students so they can see our labs."

Karamigolbaghi has also worked on several interdisciplinary research projects. She would classify her specific research areas as "experimental and numerical simulation of soil erosion, sediment transport and water quality modeling." She has collaborated in these areas with researchers across the University, including the School of Architecture and Planning and the Department of Geography.

"Mali has been an excellent ambassador for the department and a superb researcher and leader," says Joseph Atkinson, Karamigolbaghi's advisor and chair of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, "we are very proud of her achievement."

Karamigolbaghi received the award at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Awards Night earlier this month.