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Faculty Spotlight: Saeedeh Ziaeefard

With her extensive education, Saeedeh Ziaeefard is used to being in the classroom as a student.

However, in her new position at The Ohio State University, she steps into a new role - faculty member.

Ziaeefard joined Ohio State's Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department as a lecturer in September 2018 and currently teaches two courses.

While instructing at the undergraduate level is new to her, Ziaeefard credits both students and faculty colleagues for helping to make the transition smooth.

“I think all the students here at Ohio State are very sharp, and they take their classes very seriously... and that’s good. As a teacher, when I go to class I see their interest and it motivates me to come up with new ideas for my lectures,” Ziaeefard said. “I really like this department. Everyone is really friendly, so my transition from being a student to being faculty was very easy.”

Ziaeefard's academic past has taken her all around the world. She earned a master’s degree at Amirkabir University of Technology in Iran, where she studied marine engineering. She then moved to China and worked for a ship building company, helping to monitor quality assuredness. 

After spending five years doing industry work, Ziaeefard decided to apply to schools in the United States and ended up attending Michigan Tech University, where she studied mechanical engineering with a focus in controls and robotics. She earned both a master’s and Ph.D. from the university. Her husband recently moved to Columbus for his job, which is what led her to explore new opportunities at Ohio State.

Although she is focused on teaching, research still remains an interest. While she has no current plans to conduct new projects, in a few years she wants to research robotics and controls, then share her findings with future students.

Outside of her ECE course material, Ziaeefard hopes her students learn effective communication, something she finds very important no matter what class they are in.

“I like my students to come and talk to me. I think effective communication is very important and it doesn’t matter if it’s a technical communication class or it’s a technical class like a control or robotics,” Ziaeefard said. “Sometimes the way that I teach may not be the same method as what a student learns, but with effective communication we can come to a point where we both agree, and (the) student will understand and learn more effectively. At the end of the day, I want everyone to learn something from my lectures when they go out of my class.”

Going into teaching was a leap of faith, Ziaeefard said, but she is enjoying the experience and discovering it may be her passion.

“I always wanted to work in a company. I did have that experience, but now I think I like teaching because I like to tell students about the fundamentals. So, if they are doing any research, they have learned those building blocks and concepts related to their research,” Ziaeefard said.

Story by: Isabel Hall, ECE Student Public Relations Writer