WRITER: Tiffany Acosta
For the past two years, scholars have traveled from across the globe to work with a micromechanics group at New Mexico State University.
Igor Sevostianov, mechanical engineering professor in NMSU’s College of Engineering, is leading the micromechanics group that currently hosts four international scholars. The visitors are Andrea Sorzia from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, Stanislav Krasnitsky from St. Petersburg Technical University in Russia, Omid Noori from Shahid Beheshti University in Iran and Fengjuan Chen from the University of Lorraine in France.
Typically, the visiting scholars spend from six months to a year at NMSU. Sevostianov started welcoming visiting scholars to NMSU in 2014 after he organized a summer school on micromechanics for graduate students and young researchers in Europe. A portion of the attendees were recipients of a large European Union grant, which helps fund their stay in Las Cruces.
Sevostianov usually hosts two to five international scholars at one time in addition to his NMSU students.
“I have quite a big group here at NMSU that includes four permanent Ph.D. students,” Sevostianov said. “Two of them are supported by their governments. They came with their own money. One has a scholarship from Jordan and another one from the government of Iraq.”
Micromechanics is the study of materials with microstructure that also includes design of new materials. Micromechanics requires a high-level mathematical background, and the international scholars are equipped with the prerequisite qualifications.
“It’s quite interesting, they bring their own experience and they share the experience with my students here,” Sevostianov said. “I have a rather solid group. We publish together. We’re very open. I leave my students with my international colleagues and they also publish without me. It’s very nice.”
Sevostianov, who publishes on average 10 journal research papers per year, stresses the importance of publishing journal articles to his students and visiting scholars for their scientific career.
“I see the main milestone is publishing in top international journals. My dream is to make this a tradition at NMSU,” he said.
A faculty member at NMSU since 2001, Sevostianov said his publishing interest grew during his time at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
Sevostianov, who is Russian, said his NMSU students benefit from working with the international scholars and establishing connections that increase the chances to get a good job.
Sevostianov said while the international scholars often experience transportation difficulties because they don’t purchase cars during their limited stay in Las Cruces, they appreciate the friendly people and experiences they’ve had.
“They enjoy the nice weather,” he said. “And they are allowed to work as much as they can. In Europe, the universities are closed at evening time and on the weekends so the students usually cannot work. Here they are not restricted. For example, if they are a nighttime person, they can sleep during the day and come work at nighttime.”