Mahdi Vaezi

Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology

Mahdi Vaezi

What year did you start working at NIU? 2018

Where is your hometown, and where do you live now?
I am from Mashhad, Iran, and I currently reside in Naperville, IL.

Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
I received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

What do you like about working at NIU?
I like the collegial environment the most. Everyone from staff to faculty across the college are friendly and supportive. They go above and beyond to help you succeed in your teaching and scholarly activities.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I am borrowing a quote from my favorite movie of all time, Dead Poets Society: "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." Make every second of your time count. Campus life is amazing. Experience the clubs, run around the beautiful campus, attend workshops, enjoy the dining foods, study abroad, study hard, engage in undergraduate research, learn how to enrich your resume, monitor the trends in the job market, make a bright future and enjoy life!

Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
I have established the Laboratory for Energy & Fluids in the Department of Engineering Technology. This is the first experimental fluid mechanics laboratory at NIU. This lab provides unique opportunities for researchers at NIU, and possibly nearby schools, to conduct a wide range of fluid dynamics and heat transfer studies. In addition, this lab offers the potential for new undergraduate and graduate-level courses across campus.

What do you hope students take away from your class?
I hope they ask themselves — why are they sitting there? Why do they do assignments and take exams? What is the importance of the course materials? How will they use it once they graduate? I want them to understand the real-life applications of the knowledge they gain and appreciate how this course helps them to succeed in the future.

What is your favorite campus event?
The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology barbecue party in September. I get to meet with colleagues and students once again after about three months of summer break.

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
During the CEET’s virtual Senior Design Day 2020, my students received the third-place award for the 2019-2020 Integrated Senior Design Program. They designed and fabricated a prototype to guide the flow of magnetic particles in viscous fluids with applications in drug delivery systems. It was a challenging eight months of work, but that was well paid off. That day I felt honored more than ever to be part of the NIU family.

Who has influenced your professional path?
I was lucky to work with a passionate advisor during my master of science studies. He showed me how joyful and rewarding the research activities could be, and how you can make a living out of it. From that time was when I understood probably I am not a right fit for industry. I like the daily base challenges, learnings and discoveries which this job comes with. This adds so much flavor to my life.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I remember first I wanted to be a truck driver. Then I dreamed to have a farm and grow tea. Then — I cannot remember, but I know I am none of those now and I am totally okay with that.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I am a photographer and I love landscape and travel photography. Now I am completing a project capturing the history in downtown Chicago. I am naming it "From Quarantine to Chicago!"


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