Alumni Interview with Dr. Nidal Abu-Zahra

Dr. Nidal Abu-Zahra

Dr. Nidal Abu-Zahra got his Ph.D degree from IME department in 1996. He is now an associate professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

What were your favorite courses when you were a student at Cleveland State

Manufacturing Systems and Manufacturing Systems Integration with Dr. Nayfeh, Operations Research and Stochastic Modelling with Dr. Svestka.

What's the most memorable moment?

The number of students working on several projects in the first floor of Fenn Tower (the previous Engineering building). I remember many undergraduate and graduate students working at the same time on different projects; turning lathe, vertical mill, injection molding, NDT, ..etc. The first floor was always busy with fresh brewing coffee at all times. Dr. Nayfeh was the core of the lab.

What did you like the most about Cleveland? What did you not like about Cleveland?

The lake, the flats (or what used to be the flats), and the baseball/basketball teams.

I never liked the cold winters or the endless road construction projects around CSU campus.

For graduate students who want to be a faculty someday, what are your suggestions for them to prepare themselves during the graduate study?

Actually I have some advice:

  1. Focus more on "perfecting" your work than "getting it done"
  2. Thrive to become an expert on your research area starting from the bottom grounds of your area to the latest work in your field.
  3. Work on your writing and communication skills.
  4. Never overestimate your work, and never underestimate the work of others.
  5. Negligence is NOT a "blessing" (don't let them fool you!). Negligence is a "disaster".
  6. LAST but not Least: Check your work.... again, and again!
Good Luck to all graduate students at IME and best regards and appreciation to the faculty members at IME.

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