Jafferji a Fulbright
Hajar Jafferji, a PhD candidate in civil engineering, was recently awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to conduct research in Fez, Morocco.
The Fulbright Program, which fosters international relationships through education, culture, and science, will send Jafferji as a representative of the United States to Morocco, where she will work with local craftsmen, government organizations, and college students to conduct research into the revitalization of infrastructure in the city of Fez. Jafferji plans to investigate the building materials used in deficient structures, the factors that led to using those materials, and finally the reasons, both engineering and socioeconomic, for the failure of the materials.
According to Jafferji, it will be crucial to consult with local artisans and skilled craftsmen in Fez, because much of the infrastructure was developed with knowledge that has been passed down orally through generations. In addition to her research, Jafferji will work with women students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at Al-Akhawayn University to promote cultural exchange.
Jafferji received a BS in civil engineering (with high distinction) from WPI in 2011, and an MS in 2012. As an undergraduate student, she was attracted to the close-knit community of WPI and in particular the Civil Engineering Department, which she fondly calls a “little family.” As a PhD candidate, working alongside Professor Aaron Sakulich, Jafferji is focusing on structural materials—in particular, the corrosion of concrete.
Sakulich, a former Fulbright Scholar, encouraged Jafferji to apply for the grant. In combination with her current doctoral research, Jafferji credits her MQP as one factor that helped bolster her Fulbright application, as both focused on alternative materials for construction. “My MQP helped lead me right to this Fulbright!” she says.
In recent years, WPI has hosted Fulbright Scholars from Germany, Malaysia, and Romania, and elsewhere. Many WPI faculty have received Fulbright grants. The Fulbright awards for faculty or for citizens of other countries are awarded in competitions that are held separately from Fulbright awards to recent graduates or graduate students.
– BY ALLYSON SMITH