Vanier scholarship a recognition for grad student's work

Meet Mehrdad Shademan for the first time and it’s easy to get the impression he’s a fairly quiet, low-key type of guy. He wasn’t so mild-mannered, however, the day he found out he was the recipient of a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

“I was screaming and yelling,” he says in the graduate student office he shares with colleagues in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. “Everybody was pretty shocked.”

Created by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to attract world-class doctoral students, and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning, the Vanier is worth $50,000 a year for three years, and is available to both Canadian and international PhD students studying at Canadian universities.

“The money is nice, but the recognition of the work is what really counts,” said Shademan, who came to Canada from Iran in 2007 after completing both his undergraduate and master’s degrees on fluid dynamics in his home country. “It gives me a much better chance at getting an academic job.”

Shademan has a number of research projects on the go, but his principle focus is on modelling the jet flows used in everything from automotive to heating and cooling and to the paint industry.

Using the SHARCNET network for high performance computing, he’s creating large, virtual models to analyze the physical properties of the flow, allowing for variances in such factors as turbulence, temperature, pressure and velocity.

“We’re trying to obtain an overview of what happens during their use,” he said. “If I can have a better understanding of the physics of the flow, that will help for the creation of a better design of these jets and the facilities in which they’re used.”

Shademan is co-supervised by Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Ram Balachandar and Math professor Ron Barron, who are cross-appointed to Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering.

“I’m very grateful for having extremely supportive supervisors,” he said.