College collaborations spark PhD program growth

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Dr. Sephar Salari standing in front of his workplace at Bosch USA corporation
Sepehr Salari is the first INFT PHD student to
graduate from Mason with a concentration in
mechanical engineering. After graduation he
moved to Detroit, Michigan to work for Robert
Bosch USA as an R&D engineer.
(Courtesy photo)

In 2018 Sepehr Salari was one of three PhD students at Mason within the INFT PHD program studying mechanical engineering. Four years later, Salari has his doctorate, and the program has 14 students.  

“We are very proud to have Dr. Salari as the first doctoral graduate from our department,” says Leigh McCue, interim department chair, “We look forward to doctoral program growth through ongoing collaborations across the College of Engineering and Computing.”  

Salari, who is originally from Iran, transferred to Mason from Lamar University in Texas, with his advisor Ali Beheshti, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The current focus of Beheshti’s lab is on tribology and surface mechanics and centers around performance of advanced materials and components such as superalloys as well as additively manufactured (3D printed) parts in extreme environments. 

“Doctoral students play a key role in the educational and research activities of the department,” says Robert Handler, professor and director of graduate studies. “We are excited by the growth in the program and our research portfolio.” 

One area of mechanical engineering looks for innovations to make faster, smaller, and less expensive products by studying surface mechanics of everything from miniature electrical connectors to jet engines.  Salari’s dissertation explored surface mechanics and contacts, observing how advanced alloys behave over a long duration of time and at very high temperatures.  

Since completing his dissertation and graduating, Salari has moved with his wife – also a Mason PhD student in Systems Engineering and Operations Research – to Detroit, Michigan where he landed a job with Robert Bosch USA as a reliability R&D engineer. In this role, Salari works to improve the reliability of electrical components in vehicles. 

 As there were few mechanical engineering doctoral students to show him the way, Salari helped blaze a trail for others to follow. According to Beheshti, Salari did an outstanding job for his graduation path especially given the fact that he was the first student to go through all the steps.   

 “I wish him the best in his new job and hope we can collaborate in a different capacity in the future,” says Beheshti.