Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Ask the Professor: Dr. Mona Ozmaeian

Dylan Green

Dr. Mona Ozmaeian is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at West Texas A&M University. She teaches programming and solid mechanics courses, including Engineering Statics and Mechanics of Materials.

Dr. Ozmaeian wanted to combine her love of math and physics with engineering science. She learned about nanoscience and nanotechnology while pursuing her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.

“I studied a little bit about it, and I found that if I work on nanoscience, I can also learn more about science,” Dr. Ozmaeian said. “So, it’s fundamental science and engineering at the same time. So then I pursued my master’s degrees and my Ph.D. in nanoscience, computational nanoscience, and I was still in the engineering department in mechanical engineering, but these applications are basic; the fundamental of the work was nanoscience work.”

Dr. Ozmaeian stands in front of one of her research posters outside of her office in the Engineering and Computer Science Building. (Jo Early)

One of Dr. Ozmaeian’s research focuses is the computational modeling of nano and biomaterials. She said that computational work is similar to lab experiments, but researchers don’t have the equipment to measure some behaviors on the nanoscale; with simulations, she can see those behaviors on the megascale.

“This works in parallel with the actual experiment and also theoretical work,” Dr. Ozmaeian said. “So, theoretical work, computational simulations and experimental measurement. These are just three kinds of colors of scientific work and technology.”

Dr. Ozmaeian said that she was very attached to her family, but she knew she needed to go and see the world. She traveled to Italy during graduate school and also spent one year researching at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

“I got to know lots of scientists from everywhere, like all over the world,” Dr. Ozmaeian said. “That was one of my favorites, but it was only research. We didn’t have any other grads or any teaching stuff there. Where I’m here, right now, I like it really because I can have both; I get to meet with all these young minds, our students. It’s good to see both sides of this thing: teaching and research. It so far has been my favorite.”

Dr. Ozmaeian learned programming while studying computational nanoscience. She said that the field of engineering cannot focus solely on traditional solid mechanics.

“All of them have to take traditional courses that have been taught in engineering schools, but our students are not exposed to modern aspects,” Dr. Ozmaeian said. “That’s something I’m really trying so hard to get funded and work on new courses that teach the students that. From now on, we have to be multidisciplinary kind of engineers, because we need to know science. Nanoscale is all about science, physics and math.”

Dr. Ozmaeian encouraged engineering students to be confident in their abilities.
“They should not be afraid of learning a little bit more math,” Dr. Ozmaeian said. “The weakness of lots of our students is math. Like they are afraid of math, they’re afraid of science and physics. So that should be something because an engineer is a scientist who applies science in actual practical problems. Our students shouldn’t be afraid of science, afraid of math, and they should know that it’s not that difficult. They shouldn’t blame themselves, maybe they need new methods of teaching to make them kind of more interested.”

Dr. Ozmaeian said that the undergraduate degree track can be hectic for students, so they often don’t have the time to learn about projects outside our region. She encouraged students to pursue academics beyond undergraduate.

“It’s much better you have time to think, to work on your research research project,” Dr. Ozmaeian said. “So, I really want us to work on that side of things. So every student can actually get more interested in pursuing education and go out there and get new experiences.”

Dr. Ozmaeian added that “we require more than just engineers with technical skills; we also need forward-thinking individuals who understand how to adapt to the constantly changing landscape of the market, increasingly influenced by AI and new technologies.”

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About the Contributors
Jo Early
Jo Early, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Jo Early and I am a senior digital communication & media major from Amarillo. I transferred from Amarillo College in Spring 2023 and began working as editor-in-chief in Fall 2023. I want to inform the West Texas A&M Community and spotlight student resources. In the future, I hope to work for NPR.
Dylan Green
Dylan Green, Graphic Designer
Hi, my name is Dylan Green! I’m a senior Graphic Design major, and have worked with The Prairie News since Spring 2023. My career goal is to do design work for the music industry or other arts-related fields. I enjoy collecting vinyl records, listening to music, and making art in my free time.

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    Karla BerkshireMar 18, 2024 at 11:54 pm

    Dr. Ozmaeian is such a smart person! So thankful to have the opportunity to learn from her!