Fulbright Program selects second Rowan Engineering professor for 2014-2015 award

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For the second time this spring, The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program has awarded a Rowan University College of Engineering professor a grant to teach and conduct research abroad.

Dr. Kauser Jahan, civil and environmental engineering professor at Rowan University will teach students, lead faculty workshops and conduct research on sustainable development at the University of Asia Pacific (UAP) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, which operates in 155 countries worldwide, serves to increase the mutual understanding between U.S. residents and residents of other countries, according to the organization. Jahan was selected as one of about 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals to travel abroad during the 2014-2015 year.

Jahan said sustainable development refers to low-cost and easily maintained technologies that minimize adverse environmental impacts, specifically pollution. The Washington Township resident said engineers throughout the world increasingly recognize the importance of teaching sustainability concepts to undergraduate engineering students, and she looks forward to taking on this task in her native country. 

In her classes, Jahan will teach engineering UAP students about the fundamentals of sustainable design and practice through an innovative curriculum focused on “project-based learning and sustainable practices.”  Project-based learning via Rowan’s hallmark engineering clinics is the backbone of the College of Engineering’s innovative approach to education.

Through the integration of sustainable development teachings within UAP’s civil engineering program, Jahan hopes her curriculum will mold a national model for Bangladesh.

Jahan also will lead three faculty workshops, which aim to introduce innovative techniques in effective teaching and address the challenges educators face in a developing country like Bangladesh.

In addition to teaching, Jahan will conduct three extensive research projects on subjects related to Bangladesh, including the country’s need for alternate energy; excessive algae growth of its nutrient-impaired open ponds, lakes and rivers; and the use of algae as a source of sustenance to combat the country’s malnutrition issue.

Jahan said she looks forward to returning to Bangladesh on a personal and professional level.

“I’ve been away from the country for so long,” she said. “I want to be a part of the country’s efforts.”

Jahan received her B.S. in civil engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and continues to investigate the teaching and research needs of the country.  She earned an M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Minnesota.

On a personal level, Jahan said she can’t wait to spend time with her family.

“So many people in my life have supported me,” she said. “This is my chance to give back to my family members who have always been there for me.”

Through her Fulbright work, Jahan said she hopes to create lasting collaborations between students and faculty at Rowan and UAP.

Jahan, who joined Rowan’s faculty in 1996, directs several University programs, including Rowan’s Engineers on Wheels, which brings hands-on engineering modules to K-12 classrooms, and Attracting Women into Engineering, a summer program for middle school girls that introduces them to the fundamentals of engineering.

She also received many distinguished teaching awards, which most recently include the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network’s 2013 Women in Engineering Initiative Award and the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 South Jersey Branch George Stout Award.

Shortly before Jahan’s selection, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program also awarded Dr. Stephanie Farrell, associate professor of chemical engineering at Rowan, a grant to conduct research on engineering education at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland.

Fulbright Alumni include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, Supreme Court justices, governors, senators, ambassadors, prime ministers, heads of state, CEOs, professors, scientists, artists and others.

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