Putting students first
Ahmed Ghoniem is revered among his students for his understanding nature and support of their development as individuals. Ahmed encourages his students to develop their own ideas and pursue their own research interests. He gives his students “freedom to chart their own courses in grad school and develop into well-rounded researchers, as a result.” This applies to both their thesis projects as well as ventures and experiences outside of MIT, such as internships and forming new start-ups. Ahmed not only allows his students to take time off from the lab to develop these additional professional skills but cheers them on and builds new connections for them. Ahmed truly cares for the individual development of his students.
Ahmed “has created a very supportive, family-friendly culture” in his lab. For students and post-docs who find themselves at the point in their lives where they want to start a family, this topic is of paramount importance. Ahmed understands this and becomes a part of their support system, allowing his students to still flourish academically and professionally. One student describes his incredible support during her pregnancy with twins and how “he instilled confidence in [her] to bounce back and become an even stronger researcher as a mother.” Members of Ghoniem’s lab jokingly refer to their group as “the most re-productive research team at MIT,” but jokes aside, this kind of unwavering support should be truly celebrated.
Ahmed Ghoniem is the Ronald C. Crane Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Energy and Propulsion Research. He has supervised more than 100 graduate and post-graduate students, published more than 350 articles, and consulted for the aerospace, automotive and energy industries. Professor Ghoniem’s research covers computational engineering, combustion and thermochemistry, CO2 capture (gasification, oxy-combustion, membrane separation and chemical looping), and fuel production from renewable sources. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field and earlier this year was elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) for his “contributions to computational fluid dynamics with vortex and particle methods, flame modeling for turbulent combustion, and explanation and control of combustion dynamics.”
The sense of community among the Ghoniem Lab members is strong. Whether it is at Ahmed’s home when he invites his lab for Thanksgiving dinner and other occasions, or when Ahmed’s entire lab piles into his office to support him for his ‘Committed to Caring’ photo session, it is apparent to anyone that Professor Ghoniem has created something special. And with that, we thank him for his commitment to his students above all.