Monday, April 6, 2020

Congratulations, Dr. Masoud Sobhani!

On March 12, 2020, Masoud Sobhani defended his doctoral dissertation on Delivery Point Load Forecasting. It was right before the coronavirus lockdown. Today, all his forms have gone through the approval chain.

Masoud joined UNC Charlotte's Master Program in Engineering Management in Spring 2016. He completed his M.S. degree in Engineering Management in December 2017 under my supervision. After that, he continued pursuing his PhD in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems.

Masoud is a great teacher. He is by far the only student in my lab being nominated for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award at the university level. As the graduate program director, I have to assign graduate teaching assistants to all graduate and undergraduate classes my department offers. Sometimes several colleagues ask me for Masoud to be their TA at the same time!  I had the fortune of having him help with four of my courses: forecasting, energy analytics, computational intelligence, and case studies in the energy industry. Sometimes I asked him to give lectures. During these coronavirus lockdown days, all of us professors have to move the course online. For some lectures, I can find no better resources other than recordings of Masoud's from last year!

Masoud is gifted for his leadership. During his tenure in my research group, he led two BigDEAL teams to win the NPower competitions. As a graduate student of UNC Charlotte, he is a leader of Iranian student body. As the teaching assistant, he led a team of students putting the course project into a high quality journal paper, which is the first and only class paper ever published from the courses I taught at UNC Charlotte. 

Upon graduation, Masoud published two journal articles. He also won the ISF travel grant to present his research at ISF 2018 in Boulder, CO. Masoud's research has advanced the state-of-the-art by several years. This is largely due to his two internships at NCEMC during the summers of 2018 and 2019. His research outcome has already been put in production environment by the cooperatives. Unfortunately, he experienced the dark side of today's peer review system, just like my experience 10 years ago. The core contribution of his dissertation was underappreciated by inexperienced reviewers.

Masoud passed his PhD Qualifying Exam in Fall 2018, completed his proposal defense in Spring 2019.  He was ready and going to defend his dissertation last semester, to keep up with my record of two-year PhD. Right after he came back from the summer internship, Duke Energy immediately took him before any other companies did,  which delayed the graduation a bit. Still, with a defense data in March 2020, he completed his PhD in 2.5 years, which is remarkably fast!

Now Masoud and his beautiful wife live in a luxury apartment in the city center, minutes away from Duke Energy. I wish I had that life style!

Again, congratulations, Dr. Masoud Sobhani!

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