Alumna Beena Ajmera ’12 and ’11 (M.S. civil engineering; B.S. civil engineering and B.A. mathematics-applied mathematics) is back on campus this fall as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. She earned her doctorate in geotechnical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, completing her doctoral studies in the lab of CSUF research mentor Binod Tiwari, professor of civil and environmental engineering, who was co-adviser of her Ph.D. thesis.
Why did you pursue the opportunity to join the Titan community?
CSUF holds a special place in my life since I received my undergraduate and master’s degrees here, and completed most of my doctoral research in our civil engineering laboratories.
The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is a rapidly growing diverse environment that offers much to its new and continuing faculty. It has strong academics with new and evolving courses that continue to provide students with relevant and current information to prepare them for their careers as engineers. Faculty members also are very active in both research and service to the community. At the same time, they incorporate students into their work that adds a new dimension to the education they receive. This was the perfect mix that I was looking for.
What do you most look forward to now that you’re here?
I’m looking forward to the challenges that being in academia brings. Each day is new and different — from delivering lectures to a diverse group of students to exploring new problems in research that require looking at things from a different perspective and completely changing the way we approach that problem.
What areas of continued scholarship and research are of particular interest to you?
I plan to continue my doctoral research on how clay soil behaves in the event of an earthquake. In particular, I focused on the strength of clay soil after an earthquake and suggested potential factors responsible for strength loss. A reduction in the strength of clay soil, for example, could compromise the stability of structures, such as buildings and dams. There is much research that needs to be done in this area and I hope to further contribute to that body of knowledge. I’m also working on several different projects related to different aspects of fundamental and applied theories in geotechnical engineering.
What are some of your outside activities, hobbies or interests?
I love to learn new things, travel, read and solve puzzles.