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International Student Finds Passion and Successes in Oceanography at USM

Mon, 02/05/2024 - 10:40am | By: Gabriela Shinskie


A passion for life beneath the sea is what graduate student Shihab Hossain Saran has found throughout his time at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Ocean Science and Engineering (SOSE), with his discovery of oceanography propelling him toward success.

From Bangladesh to the United States

Originally from Bangladesh, Saran obtained his bachelor’s degree in 2017 at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) where he studied water resource engineering. After graduation, he linked up with Drs. Kemal Cambazoglu and Jerry Wiggert of the USM Division of Marine Science (DMS) to examine its graduate programs.  

“I was looking for an opportunity to pursue higher study,” said Saran. “After advisement from Dr. Kemal and Dr. Jerry, I was accepted into USM.” In fall 2021, he packed his bags and flew to the United States to pursue his Master of Science in Marine Science with an emphasis on physical oceanography at the University.

Saran initially found it challenging to keep up with the demands of his coursework while also becoming accustomed to life in a new country. Eventually finding his rhythm, Saran was guided by Drs. Cambazoglu and Wiggert in accomplishing his goals.

“Dr. Kemal does a good job advising me. I am also grateful to other colleagues in our modeling group. We always work as a team,” said Saran.

Dr. Cambazoglu praised Saran’s passion for ocean modeling work and positive interactions with his fellow students. “He is a truly exceptional team member, helping incoming students who started our graduate program after he did, and is also motivated to continue improving academically.”

Accomplishments from sea to shining sea



Saran did not let culture shock keep him from reaching his potential. He hit the ground running with various publications, awards, memberships, professional experiences, and volunteering.

The accomplishments flowed naturally and fueled his passion even more. He is working on the multidisciplinary projects “Experimental Oyster Leases as a Platform for Demonstrating Effective Restoration Strategies and Assessing Influence on Gulf Sturgeon Habitat,” a cooperative research effort between USM and US Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research & Development Center (ERDC), along with a Gulf of Mexico Security Act (GOMESA) Project to assist the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources on the Bonnet Carre Spillway Response.

Saran was awarded first place in the Student Poster Competition at the Oceans 2023 Gulf Coast Conference, along with third place in the Summer Camp Student poster competition at the Marine Education Center (MEC) Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) chapter at USM.  During his journey at USM, he acquired technical skills in hydrodynamic and hydrological modeling software and programming. These skills led him to publish two research projects focusing on oyster reef restoration in the Mississippi Sound, impact of freshwater input in the Mississippi Sound and Bight using numerical mode. Besides his research work, Saran would always like to participate in co-curricular activities, and he became Vice President of the student chapter of IEEE OES at USM.

USM experience will leave indelible mark


Currently a graduate research assistant at Stennis Space Center, Saran plans to graduate in the spring or summer of 2024, and then pursue a doctorate.

After being immersed in the study of oceanography, the world is soon to be Saran’s oyster with his education at USM poised to part the sea to a path paved with new career and research opportunities.

“The physical oceanography degree I earned at USM and the opportunities it provided help me understand the whole coastal ecosystem. I am truly fortunate to get a chance to broaden my knowledge in this dynamic field,” he said. “I also love exploring new places and thrilled when I discover a new culture, and the people here made me feel welcome.”