PhD Students in the Civil Engineering Network Dynamics Lab have pursued both academic and practitioner paths upon graduation. Graduates pursuing academic careers have accepted post-doctoral fellowships at prestigious institutions including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Cornell and NYU and have continued on to faculty careers at leading research universities around the world. Graduates who have pursued industry paths are employing their research knowledge to tackle complex and challenging industrial problems. Below is a summary of the PhD research and post-graduation paths of the excellent and award-winning students that have graduated from the Lab.
Dr. Jiayu Chen
Jiayu received his PhD in Fall 2012 in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. His dissertation was entitled: “Simulating Network Structure, Layering Multi-layer Network Systems and Developing Network Block Configuration Models to Understand and Improve Energy Conservation in Residential Buildings.” Jiayu’s PhD research developed new simulation techniques to understand how energy use decision-making impacts energy consumption dynamically over time in building occupant networks. Jiayu accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at the City University of Hong Kong in 2013 where he launched the Building Environment and Eco-Informatics Lab.
Dr. Semra Comu
Semra received her PhD in Fall 2012 in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. She had previously completed a Master’s degree from Columbia University conducting research in the Lab. Her PhD dissertation was entitled: “Examining the Impact of Facilitation on the Performance of Global Project Networks Collaborating in Virtual Workspaces.” Semra’s PhD research contributed to both the CII Globalization and NSF CyberGRID Networks research projects. She developed novel techniques for analyzing the dynamic interactions of global virtual teams and contributed new insights into global team network dynamics. The CMAA invited Semra to present her findings at their Annual Conference shortly before she graduated. Semra accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at Bogazici University in 2013 where she is continuing her global virtual team research.
Dr. Melissa Di Marco
Melissa received her PhD in Spring 2011 in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. Her dissertation was entitled: “The Roles and Impacts of Boundary Spanners and Boundary Objects in Global Project Networks.” Melissa’s PhD research introduced the theory of cultural boundary spanners to globalization research and she identified the highly central role boundary objects play in globally distributed engineering team interactions. Melissa’s research was awarded two journal best paper awards and a conference best paper award. Her research contributed to the NSF Knowledge System Dynamics in Complex Services Outsourcing research project. Melissa accepted a position in international business development at SNC-Lavalin in Montreal following her graduation where she is implementing her global project network dynamics research in practice.
Dr. Rimas Gulbinas
Rimas received his PhD in Summer 2014 in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. His dissertation was entitled: “Identifying and Quantifying Energy Efficient Behavior in Commercial Buildings.” While at Virginia Tech, Rimas contributed to the NSF CAREER and DOE Bizwatts projects. His PhD research advanced our understanding about how eco-feedback systems should be designed for commercial buildings, how organizational network based energy feedback impacts individual energy-use in commercial buildings, and how individual level energy-use data can be used to effectively classify building occupants according to energy-use efficiency and entropy. Following his PhD, Rimas accepted a DOE Research Fellowship and an Entrepreneur-in-Training post-doctoral appointment at the Cornell-Technion Innovation Institute, where is transforming his research into a viable business that is focused on improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.
Dr. Rishee Jain
Rishee received his PhD in Fall 2013 in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. His dissertation was entitled: “Building Eco-Informatics: Examining the Dynamics of Eco-Feedback Design and Peer Networks to Achieve Sustainable Reductions in Energy Consumption.” Rishee contributed to the NSF CAREER, NSF IGERT and DOE BizWatts projects. His PhD research advanced our understanding of eco-informatics and energy conservation, how peer network dynamics function to reduce energy consumption, and he developed machine learning techniques to predict energy consumption dynamics in buildings. Following his PhD, Rishee accepted the Director’s Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the New York University Center for Urban Science+Progress (CUSP). He then was awarded a Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and is continuing his research in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford University where he is continuing his eco-informatics research as described on his research website.
Dr. Amy Tang
Amy received her PhD in Fall 2013 in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. Her dissertation was entitled: “Leveraging Policy for Renewable Energy in Industrialized Countries and Emerging Markets.” Amy utilized stochastic modeling of commodity prices and agent-based simulation of investment decisions in order to contribute fundamental insights into the dependencies between innovative financing tools and effective renewable energy policy. Following her PhD, Amy accepted a consulting position at Opera Solutions in New York where she applies the analytical skills employed during her PhD to leverage big data analytics in providing business solutions to leading companies worldwide.
Dr. Hakan Unsal
Hakan received his PhD in Fall 2010 in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. His dissertation was entitled: “Modeling the Hold-up Problem and Absorptive Capacity of Project Networks.” Hakan utilized game theory and agent-based modeling techniques to contribute fundamental insights into how, during periods of dynamic technological change, firms interact both in terms of their shifting contractual relationships and their inter-organizational learning efficiency. Following his PhD, Hakan accepted a consulting position at Boston Consulting Group in Dubai where he applies the analytical modeling techniques he employed in his PhD to consult to large companies on how to improve their practices.
Dr. Andrei Villarroel
Andrei received his PhD in Fall 2008 in Management of Technology and Entrepreneurship from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. His dissertation was entitled: “Open Source Competitive Strategy: Unveiling the Firm’s Open Sources of Competitive Advantage.” Andrei utilized agent-based simulation modeling and collected large-scale empirical data to analyze how knowledge brokering and open sourcing dynamics impact efficiency of inter-organizational interactions. His research was awarded multiple best conference paper awards. Following his PhD, Andrei accepted a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Sloan School of Management after which he accepted a faculty position as Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of Portugal.
Dr. Qi “Ryan” Wang
Ryan received his PhD in Spring 2015 in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. His dissertation was entitled: “Human Mobility Perturbation and Resilience in Natural Disasters.” During his PhD studies at Virginia Tech, Ryan contributed to the NSF CAREER project and Virginia Tech BioBuild Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program. His PhD research advanced the ground truth understanding of human mobility patterns under the influence of natural disasters, and developed the methodologies to quantify human mobility resilience and perturbation using big data from online social media. Following his PhD, Ryan accepted a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Department of Sociology at Harvard University where he continues using big data on urban informatics to conduct cutting-edge research at the intersection of social science, public policy and infrastructure systems.
Dr. Xiaoqi Xu
Xiaoqi received her PhD in Spring 2013 in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. Her dissertation was entitled: “Leveraging Human-environment Systems in Residential Buildings for Aggregate Energy Efficiency and Sustainability.” Xiaoqi contributed to the NSF CAREER and NSF IGERT projects and was honored with a Columbia University Presidential Fellowship during her PhD studies. Her PhD research advanced our understanding of phenomena at the intersection between human networks and engineered networks relating to energy consumption and conservation. Following her PhD, Xiaoqi accepted the Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in the Sustainability Science Program and where she contributes to the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project at Harvard University.