Structural engineering PhD candidate earns ASCE/SEI Scholarship

By Peter Murphy

Published June 2, 2022

Mohammad Syed, a PhD candidate in structural engineering won the American Society of Civil Engineers Structural Engineering Institute (ASCE/SEI) Scholarship for the organization’s 2022 Structures Congress.

“Getting a chance to present before a very engaged and accomplished audience was a humbling experience ”
Mohammad Syed, PhD candidate
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Syed, advised by associate professors Negar Elhami-Khorasani and Pinar Okumus, was invited to present a paper highlighting his research to the Structures Congress, and the scholarship covered the costs of registration travel and lodging.

“This is one of the biggest structural engineering conference that attracts the most accomplished professionals and researchers from across the world,” Syed says. “I was able to present before them and received input that will certainly add value to my research.”

The paper, titled Tessellated Structural-Architectural Shear Walls for Rapid Construction, Repair and Disassembly describes Syed’s work on a new modular shear wall system designed for replaceability and resilience after extreme loading as well as architectural appeal. The walls are called tessellated structural-architectural walls (TeSA) because they consist of interlocking tiles (modules) made up of repetitive shapes (tessellations). Syed is currently developing performance-development tools for TeSA shear walls. 

Mohammad Syed.

Mohammad Syed

The Structures Congress was Syed’s first in-person conference, and, according to Syed, had several benefits. “Getting a chance to present before a very engaged and accomplished audience was a humbling experience,” Syed says. “Apart from sharing my research, interacting with my peers was one of the most important take-aways from this experience.”

Syed will use this experience and others to inform his work with TeSA walls and accomplish some of the long-term goals associated with this area. “TeSA systems are aimed at providing resilient structural systems, in-line with demands of modern infrastructure,” Syed says. “The construction industry is particularly notorious for having a very high carbon footprint and TeSA systems can potentially alleviate this problem.”

In addition to the ASCE/SEI Scholarship, Syed also earned the Graduate Scholarship from the Structural Engineers Foundation (SEF) for the 2021-2022 academic year. According to SEF, the organization provides “merit-based tuition scholarships to encourage undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in structural engineering programs.”