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Afshin Rahimi, PhD, Aerospace Engineering

Afshin Rahimi has been awarded a prestigious Vanier Scholarship for his research on predicting failures in aerospace systems.

Rahimi is anything but your typical graduate student. While the Aerospace Engineering PhD student revels in building things like satellites, what interests him most is predicting problems – like whether they will fall from the sky – and mitigating risks.

“If I can figure out how a satellite’s operating system might malfunction, then I can apply that knowledge to any other type of system,” says Rahimi. “There are lots of other applications, including health network systems and the robotic systems found inside artificial arms and legs.”

He’s as curious to know when it’s going to rain as he is to know if unmanned delivery machines called “quadcopters” can be used to help blind people see. That makes him as much an engineer as a humanist, as open to a career in industry as one in research.

“Ever since I saw the first satellite re-entry on television, I’ve been trying to figure out how to put the mathematical, problem-solving side of my brain to practical use. Doing my doctoral work at Ryerson is the perfect place for me because it’s so focused on problem-solving for complex applications.”

Rahimi may not have figured it all out yet. But at 25, he’s a creative thinker with an entrepreneurial bent who’s trying to keep all his options open. That makes him anything but predictable.

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