I want to make an impact through my profession and engineering was the obvious one for me. What we do today shapes our future.
I'm a lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at ARU, and module leader for various civil engineering topics. These include geotechnics, highway design and construction, and the use of mathematics in engineering.
I supervise students whose research focuses on resilient urban systems and sustainable transportation options.
I'm also actively engaged in research myself, working on resilient and sustainable urban water and wastewater systems, integrated real-time control and optimisation of urban wastewater systems, integrated urban watershed management through sustainable drainage systems, and the interlink between sustainable development and provision of wastewater systems in fast-growing economies.
My experience is geared towards applied research for informing and developing evidence-based practices and policies specifically linking technology, engineering, and societal needs. My past work has investigated the use of automated control technologies to manage wastewater infrastructure in order to mitigate climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The engineering industry's approach is shifting towards science-based (evidence-based) applied research. As it gains more and more interest, it results in fruitful collaboration. I found that this shifted both my teaching methods and research towards an application-based approach.
I joined ARU in 2018 as a Research Fellow. I'm part of a research group working on the development of a policy framework for incorporating sustainable drainage systems for new developments in fast-growing economies, such as the city of São Paulo in Brazil. But the caring nature of the University towards its students attracted me to one of the most rewarding jobs here: teaching.
There are several challenges in teaching and research. With teaching, one of the challenges is the cyclic process of identifying and understanding the individual learning approaches of our students, so that we can maximise the effectiveness of our teaching. Here at ARU we have a very diverse group, so this is essential.
Through application-based teaching – linking core concepts of engineering to their practical uses – we can help students retain knowledge and contribute to the development of essential skills.
I hope that I inspire my students by giving them the big picture, and showing them the impact of engineering and technology on everyday life.
Dr Biniam Biruk Ashagre teaches civil engineering at ARU. Find out more about our engineering degree courses.