Reihaneh Jamshidi Honored with Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize

May 10, 2022
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
photo of Reihaneh Jamshidi

Reihaneh Jamshidi, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, is the 2022 recipient of the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize.

The award recognizes an outstanding junior faculty member—an assistant professor in a tenure-track position, but not yet tenured—who demonstrates combined excellence in teaching, scholarly or creative activity, and service.

The list of specialties that are part of Jamshidi's professional portfolio may seem overwhelming—but not to the students whom she regularly involves in her work as an educator and researcher.

Jamshidi is as engaged in the topics at hand as her young scholars, and the effect is an educational environment where the complexities of mechanical engineering appear entirely approachable. Through her work and methods, her students gain a clear understanding of what it takes—and what it means—to be a mechanical engineer.

She has won 13 grants since coming to UHart, and each one fully utilized students in the ensuing research. Her projects and topics include the building of a 3D printer from scratch; polymer-based electronics; transient lithium-ion batteries; and a simulation module based on Finite Element Analysis, or FEA. According to her CETA colleague, Ivana Milanovic, professor of mechanical engineering, “FEA is typically not used to teach the concepts of machine design and materials. But Dr. Jamshidi’s work illustrates that it is possible to use it to teach fundamental engineering and, conversely, to use engineering topics to teach FEA.” Jamshidi is the first CETA faculty member to apply FEA so early in the engineering curriculum.

The University of Hartford became Jamshidi’s professional home in 2018 after earning her PhD from Iowa State University, where she gained attention for published work on self-destructing batteries, which involved research that has been called groundbreaking technology. Rounding out her broad technical canvas was time spent in a design engineering co-op at Whirlpool Corporation.

At UHart, that canvas continues to grow with such activity as mentoring students, publishing in technical journals, and volunteering to judge design competitions.

“Dr. Jamshidi’s passion for technology and her positive, unyielding energy is always clear and present, and it was even that way during the most challenging times of COVID-19,” says engineering student Elexa Argento, who has been a student in several of her classes. Argento says she felt as if she gained true “in-the-field” experience with Jamshidi that will come in handy once she graduates.