Meet the New NDSU Faculty Researchers

Get to know the newest faculty researchers who have joined NDSU in the 2021-2022 school year. Check back weekly for new profiles!

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Shuvashis Dey, PhD / Electrical and Computer Engineering

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My research interest is mainly focused on the development of low-cost and compact RFID-based sensing systems for various Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as smart farming, retail and supply chain, smart buildings and maintenance management etc. While IoT and RFID technologies remain the main theme, the inter-disciplinary and collaborative approach of my research has resulted in a diversified research direction. The core elements that help develop the RFID based sensing system are the broadband antennas, microwave resonators, characterization of smart materials, and finally, integration of these materials in the passive design to enable physical sensing of tagged objects. Through the investigation of these core elements, my research aims to realize a better-connected world. The other significant direction of my research involves the design and development of phased array and metamaterial-based antenna systems for 5G and satellite IoT communications.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I am originally from Bangladesh although I grew up in many different parts of the world. I received the Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from National Institute of Technology-Durgapur, West Bengal, India in 2007, the M.Sc. degree in Wireless Networks from Queen Mary, University of London, England, United Kingdom in 2009 and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering from Monash University, Australia in 2018. I worked at the Auto-ID Labs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a visiting researcher in 2016 and pursued a part of my Ph.D. there. Prior to joining NDSU in Fall 2021, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Monash University, Australia.

What excites you about NDSU?
The most exciting factor for me at NDSU is its immensely welcoming and collaborative research environment. I also admire the opportunity to work on developing technology for precision agriculture, right at the heart of one of the significant agricultural hubs of the United States. Being at NDSU provides me with a fantastic opportunity, as well as great resources and facilities to pursue this research interest which is quite close to my heart.

What motivates you?
Learning about a new innovation, its underlying theory and its application motivate me a big time. Research allows me to utilize my intellectual abilities to the fullest while it provides me endless freedom and opportunity to learn and explore the area I have chosen. The researcher in me finds limitless chances to identify the fundamental cause of a yet unknown problem and dig down a solution for it. Alongside that, being able to interact with the students in the classroom fills me with immense joy. I also get a satisfying feeling to find the glow in the eyes of the students when they can grasp a new concept!

If you could time travel, where would you go?
Not very far! I would probably go to mid-2019 when there would be no such thing called COVID!

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
Rabindranath Tagore!

What was your first job?
Software salesperson-Worked for a senior friend for a couple of weeks with no success!

What does your very best day include?
A relaxed day spent with family with no deadlines in mind!

What’s your favorite quote?
"Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead, if you lose, you can guide." – Swami Vivekananda

Zachary Carlson, PhD / Animal Sciences

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My research program broadly focuses on increasing production efficiencies in the cow-calf, stocker/backgrounding, and finishing sectors of the beef production industry.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I am originally from Stanchfield, MN. I have a B.S. in animal sciences from NDSU, a M.S. and Ph.D. in ruminant (cattle) nutrition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

What excites you about NDSU?
I attended graduate school due to the faculty in Animal Sciences here at NDSU. Now that I work in that department, it is a real privilege to work alongside my mentors.

What motivates you?
Most of my job is Extension work, which means I work with cattle producers. The ability to help people with their business and livelihood is very rewarding. Also, the agriculture industry is dynamic and brings a new challenge/opportunity every day.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
If I could have coffee with anyone it would be my grandparents. They taught me a great deal and I miss them very much.

What was your first job?
A farm hand at Enquist's dairy farm in Isanti, MN.

What does your very best day include?
Doing anything with my kids.

What’s your favorite quote?
"Put the big rocks first" - Stephen Covey

Amber O'Shea, Phd / Education

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My research and scholarship focus on social-emotional learning and trauma-informed education, as well as understanding hope in K-12 settings.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I am from Gretna, Nebraska. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I also earned a Masters of Educational Psychology and my Doctorate in Educational Studies with a specialization in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

What excites you about NDSU?
NDSU is an exciting opportunity for me as we have begun the work in developing a Whole Child Approaches M.Ed. program. It is something I am very passionate about and am excited to help build with educators across the state.

What motivates you?
I have always been very driven by doing what's best for students. As a classroom teacher, I was able to bring a focus on social-emotional learning to our school. This was critical as it helped changed our focus from traditional grade-centric to caring about our students as people first.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
If I could have coffee/tea with anyone it would be with my grandparents that I never had the pleasure of meeting.

What was your first job?
My first job was when I was 14 as a lifeguard at the Gretna Public Pool in Gretna Nebraska.

What does your very best day include?
Lots of family time, including a long walk, with my husband, two-year-old son (Elliott), and 9-month-old Daughter (Jaylie).

What’s your favorite quote?
"Education does not change the world. Education changes people. People change the world." - Paulo Freire

Chau Le, PhD / Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
Applications of data analytics and artificial intelligence for decision making and project performance evaluation and enhancement, Alternative contracting methods, Sustainable and resilient infrastructure, Emerging technologies and robotics, and Human safety and health.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I am originally from Vietnam. I took my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and master's degree in Construction in my home country. I got my Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Texas A&M University in Summer 2021.

What excites you about NDSU?
I am excited about NDSU's welcoming and collaborative community.

What motivates you?
The increasing challenges in the construction industry and students' education quality.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
Myself in twenty years to see who I will become and ask for a few tips. I hope it will not affect the timeline, though ^_^.

What was your first job?
A bidding engineer for a construction company.

What does your very best day include?
Completing all the planned items and spending some quality time with my family.

What’s your favorite quote?
Motivational quotes such as "Always strive to improve yourself"

Omid Beik, PhD / Electrical and Computer Engineering

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My primary research expertise embraces different aspects of renewable generation systems, and their interface to the power grid. Particularly, my current work is in design, modelling and analyses of high voltage (HV) and high power wind turbine generators (WTGs), their control, and power electronics interface (drives) adaptable for DC grids. My secondary research is the design, modelling, analyses and control of electric machines for applications in transportation electrification. My work in this domain specifically includes multiphase and hybrid permanent magnet (PM) electric machine topologies for electric vehicles (light-, medium- and heavy-duty). In my industrial experience I have expanded my work on research and development of entire vehicle electrified powertrain, where I have led development of the electric machines, power electronics, their control and interface to a medium-duty electric vehicle.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I received my Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, in 2016. I was a Postgraduate Researcher with the Power Conversion Group, University of Manchester, U.K. (2011–2012) and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada (2016–2017). After Postdoc I was a Senior Engineer with Magna Powertrain, Concord, ON, Canada (2017-2018), then a Lead R&D Engineer with Mirus International Inc, Brampton, ON, Canada (2018-2019), and then a Senior Manager with Forte Mobility Co. Ltd., Aurora, ON, Canada (2020-2021). I am currently an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA.

What excites you about NDSU?
I am excited to begin my career at NDSU. I look forward to meet my undergraduate students in the class and engage them in conversations on renewable energy systems and their impact on our lives. I am also excited to work with the new graduate students.

What motivates you?
The field of engineering in general is what motivates me. In particular, I look forward to contribute to the widespread of renewable energy systems on terrestrial power grids, and moving towards extraterrestrial systems.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
I like to visit Moon, and explore the possibility of setting up a power generation station over there possibly using wind turbines and solar systems. From there, I will then go to Mars to re-test the renewable power generation on Mars.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
My students.

What was your first job?
Working with my dad in his construction.

What does your very best day include?
Everyday is the very best day, if you can make it.

Please visit my website at: sites.google.com/view/omidbeik

Katelyn Nicolay, Phd / Athletic Training

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
Determining how to improve the authenticity of simulation learning activities, and evaluating how these activities contribute to critical thinking skill development in athletic training students.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I'm from Winnipeg, but have spent the last 7 years in Boston. I have a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Manitoba, a Master of Science from Illinois State University, and a Doctor of Education from Northeastern University.

What excites you about NDSU?
I love how the university is such a big part of the community. You can feel the support for our academic and athletic programs no matter where you go.

What motivates you?
Watching my students become confident and skilled professionals.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
Tough question. Probably the 1950's.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
Anthony Bourdain or my Gramma.

What was your first job?
Santa's Helper - taking Christmas photos of kids with Santa at the mall.

What does your very best day include?
Any day that I'm traveling abroad is a great day. If I'm at home, it includes a lazy morning, coffee, taking a yoga class, and probably baking cookies or some type of dessert.

What’s your favorite quote?
"We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third." - Leslie Knope

Emily Kalina, DNP, RN, FNP-C / Nursing

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
Nurse Practitioner Education; Healthy Lifestyle Modifications; Depression and Anxiety Screening and Treatment; Cultural Diversity in the Health Care Setting; Rural Health Evaluation, Treatment, and Care Coordination for Cognitive Impairment of the Aged-Patient; Prevention, Evaluation, and Treatment of Acute and Chronic COVID-19 in the Outpatient Setting; Childhood Obesity; Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention; and Preconception and Prenatal Care in the Primary Care Setting.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I grew up in Grand Forks, ND, and attended North Dakota State University, graduating in 2000 with Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. I returned to NDSU in 2012 for Graduate School, and earned my Doctor of Nursing Practice with certification for Family Nurse Practitioner through American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) in 2015.

What excites you about NDSU?
Being an alumni of NDSU, both undergraduate and graduate level, has provided me with a strong foundation of how great the university is both culturally and academically. I love getting out of my car in the morning and seeing the energy of the students driven to learn and grow their futures here on campus. I am excited to continue to grow personally and professionally through work with fellow colleagues and students throughout the university.

What motivates you?
I am very motivated by personal growth and helping others see their potential and work towards goals. I am constantly striving to do better and use my knowledge to share with others looking for a similar purpose.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
I would love to go back to when my mother was a child and see first hand the hardship and struggles her family of 9 faced as a rural farming family in ND. Although they had limited resources growing up, taking a ride in the car as a family every Sunday afternoon to "check the fields," then stop in town and get 5 cent ice cream cones was a highlight of the week!

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
Professionally, i would have to say Florence Nightingale. She is the cornerstone of my nursing career and was so progressive for her time. Personally, I have always been a fan of Garth Brooks. I appreciate how he took a step back from his career to be an active part of raising his children. I also love his energy and positivity he puts forth in all he does!

What was your first job?
I first worked at a fast food pizza stand in the Columbia Mall, Grand Forks, ND.

What does your very best day include?
My best days starts with a good cup of coffee, clean house, and quiet time overlooking the lake with my dog. I will usually get in some outside activity with a walk, paddle board, water-skiing, or bike ride, have a nice dinner with my family at home, and listen to some live music at a concert with my husband and friends.

What’s your favorite quote?
"It is what it is!"

Minwei Xu, PhD / Plant Science

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My research program focuses on food processing. Currently, we have three directions: 1, Plant-based meat and milk; 2, Upcycling cereal processing byproducts; 3, computational simulation of food processing.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I was a Food Scientist at Northern Crops Institute. I got my Ph.D. degree major in Cereal Science from North Dakota State University. My M.S. and B.S. were major in Fermentation Engineering and Bioengineering from Jiangnan University and Tianjin University of Technology, respectively.

What excites you about NDSU?
NDSU is such a diverse campus and it has been remarkable to experience different cultures here.

What motivates you?
I get motivated when it comes to opportunities for discovering new things. When I know that I was able to make a difference, at the end of the day, I feel satisfied and motivated. This motivation is a huge reason why I wanted to become a researcher in the first place.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
The future.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
My students.

What was your first job?
Assistant Manager in a water company.

What does your very best day include?
Fishing, barbecue.

What’s your favorite quote?
No matter how long the rain lasts, there will be a rainbow in the end. No matter how sad you may be, believe, that happiness is waiting.

Jayme Steig, PharmD / Pharmacy Practice

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My primary research interests involve design and implementation of programs to improve outcomes in community pharmacy practice. This includes the Opioid & Naloxone Education (ONE) Program, improving immunization rates, and chronic disease management/prevention.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I grew up on a farm near Sawyer, ND and currently live in Casselton, ND. I received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from NDSU.

What excites you about NDSU?
I am excited for the opportunities to collaborate with faculty and the pharmacy professionals in North Dakota. The practice environment in the state provides opportunities to develop innovative programs.

What motivates you?
I am motivated to see the role of pharmacy continue to evolve to improve patient outcomes in our health care system.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
My grandparents. They taught me a lot and I miss them dearly.

What was your first job?
Mowing grass on the family farm.

What does your very best day include?
Spending time outdoors, hanging out with my family, and having time for reflection.

Kelsey Slater, PhD / Health, nutrition and Exercise Science (Sport Management)

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
Sports Diplomacy and Sport and New Media.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
Originally from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, completed my bachelors degree in political science and environmental studies at Lafayette College. Completed my Masters and PhD in Kinesiology with a concentration in sport studies from Mississippi State University.

What excites you about NDSU?
I am excited to be part of a department that is growing and where I get to be a part of developing strong students in sport management.

What motivates you?
I am motivated by my colleagues as well as my own internal motivation for greater knowledge. I pursue research projects to find answers that will hopefully contribute to society and future researchers.

If you could time travel, where would you go?
I would probably go to Ancient Greece or Rome to see the some of the architectural wonders that have been lost over time.

If you could have coffee / tea with anyone, who would it be?
If I could have coffee with anyone it would be Johann Olav Koss, Olympian and founder of Sport for development organization Right to Play. I would want to learn more about how he took his platform as an Olympian and used it to motivate others to contribute to humanitarian work.

What was your first job?
Working in the admissions office at Lafayette College while I was an undergraduate student.

What does your very best day include?
Playing beach volleyball with my friends and family.

What’s your favorite quote?
"Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair."  - Nelson Mandela

Lei Jiang, PhD / Education

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My primary research interests focus on equitable and inclusive educational leadership, TESOL and bilingual education, and quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
My educational backgrounds include a Ph.D. in Education & M.S. in Statistics, University of Georgia Master of Education, Harvard University; a B.A. in English and Economics, Fudan University (Shanghai, China); visiting undergraduate student, University of California, Berkeley; visiting undergraduate student, University of Cambridge (UK)

What excites you about NDSU?
NDSU has a friendly and welcoming campus. I am excited about the student-centered and research-oriented environment.

What motivates you?
I am motivated by the opportunity to work with my colleagues and students and make our community a better place.

What was your first job?
Instructor at Harvard University

What does your very best day include?
Reading, teaching, writing, running, and chatting with my family and friends

What’s your favorite quote?
"Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

Seungmin Kang, PhD / Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences

What are your primary research and scholarly interests?
My research focuses on examining the role of shared leadership on different human resource-related constructs and organizational outcomes in the context of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) to help achieve desired social change goals of these nonprofit sport organizations.

Where are you from and where did you pursue your education?
I am originally from South Korea and I did my Ph.D. at Louisiana State University.

What excites you about NDSU?
I am excited about the department's plan to develop sport management program as well as its research-oriented environment.

What motivates you?
I am motivated by a sense of achievement. I set small goals whatever they are and the process of achieving them makes me move forward.

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