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School of Ocean Science and Engineering

Student Spotlight: Nahruma Pieu

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Nahruma Mehzabeen Pieu
What interested you about your field of study?

I learned hydrologic and hydrodynamic modeling in my undergrad and something about depicting the physical world in a computer simulation fascinated me. I wanted to learn the scope and limits of numerical modeling, what can I do in this line of work and how can I help society. So, I joined the Institute of Water and Flood Management (IWFM) as a Research Assistant in Professor A. K. M. Saiful Islam’s team. It was the best learning experience so far, which built up all my skillsets consisting of flash flood forecasting, storm surge prediction, and flood damage analysis.

I worked there for three years which helped build my research interest in coastal modeling, riverine modeling, surge predictions, climate change, and data science.

My research at USM is also based on river modeling: understanding the flow dynamics of the Lower Pearl River through hydrodynamic modeling. Flow from Pearl River was speculated to be responsible for the reduced salinity in the Sound which may affect oyster yield, possible onset of algal bloom, and hypoxia. The model of the Pearl would help determine the specific impact of the Pearl River flow on these phenomena. Initial modeling shows that East Pearl flows mainly upstream from July to December when the flow in Bogalusa is low. Further modeling is required to investigate how this would affect the salinity in Lake Borgne. I am very grateful to my advisor Dr. Mustafa Kemal Cambazoglu for guiding me throughout the modeling process.

What is/was the road to your degree path? 

I got my Bachelor of Science in Water Resources Engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, one of the best Engineering Universities in Bangladesh. 

Why did you choose USM?

I was in the dark about how data for my modeling work was being collected, being a computer modeler meant I was always in a room, working at my desk and complaining about badly measured data! But I always wondered what instruments were being used. How was the data processed? How was the instrument set up or calibrated? I never got the chance to see and experience data collection, but USM offered that opportunity. USM has many cutting-edge instruments like ADCP, eco-boat, and AUVs to name a few, and I thought I would have the opportunity to learn more about the data collection and calibration process. 

USM also has a diverse Modeling group at the Department of Marine Science (DMS) working on atmospheric modeling, circulation modeling, wave modeling, biogeochemical-ecological modeling, and river modeling. Learning from the DMS modeling group also gave me a great opportunity to continue working as a modeler to advance my career.  

USM is also an awesome place to expand your knowledge beyond ocean engineering. I believe it is not enough to simply know the mechanics of a change but also important to understand what implications those mechanics may have on the greater aspect of the environment where it is applied. We need to understand all aspects of oceanography to apply an engineering design effectively and efficiently, and the Department of Marine Science at USM offers just that!  

What type of job do you hope to obtain in your field of study after you graduate?

I want to join as a hydrodynamic modeler and be able to predict and understand flood scenarios due to storm surges, tsunamis, dam breaks, sea level rise, inland river flooding, compound flooding, etc. with the help of computer simulations.

If you are a recent graduate, do you have a job in your degree field?  What does that job entail?

I want to pursue a doctorate in engineering next going back to my engineering roots.

Please share any other information that you feel would be helpful to other students or potential students about your degree. 

Marine Science helps us understand the ocean from different perspectives and angles, from biological, chemical, geological, and physical perspectives. It helps us understand, respect, and appreciate the ocean more, considering all that it does for us. I would recommend this to anyone who is very driven about the ocean. The degree also offers a good opportunity to be at the sea, learn how to collect data, and process it first-hand, so USM is also a great place for that.

Learn more about Marine Science