MU alum Kianfar lands tenure-track position at Saint Louis University
When the teaching bug bit Jalil Kianfar, it bit hard. Now, he’s getting the chance to chase his dream half a world away from where it first took hold.
Kianfar earned his doctoral degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri in 2013, and accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at the Saint Louis University Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology in January.
Kianfar said he knew he wanted to teach back in his days as an undergraduate at Azad University-Najaf Abad in his native Iran.
“Pretty much when I started my undergraduate degree,” he said. “I felt that sometimes teaching engineering could be a little bit tricky compared to other fields.”
After wrapping up his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Kianfar came to the United States to finish his education because, he said, of the quality of the universities here. His comfort level with the faculty, particularly civil engineering Associate Professor Praveen Edara, paved the way for his enrollment at MU.
“When I was back home, I was looking at different universities, and my advisor, Dr. Edara … I thought our interests were pretty similar,” Kianfar said.
“Jalil was a fantastic Ph.D. student in our transportation program at Mizzou,” Edara said. “He represented us well at national and international conferences through his scholarly research. He also gave guest lectures in our graduate and undergraduate classes. He has a very bright future, and we all wish him the best!”
He also liked the research potential in the area of transportation. At MU, Kianfar was able to pursue his academic interests in the realms of traffic operations, modeling, connected vehicles and transportation, among many others.
And now, Kianfar can pass on that knowledge and enthusiasm for learning to his charges at SLU. He said he’d like to have the opportunity to continue researching somewhere down the line, but now, he’s plenty busy developing his courses and lesson plans — all part of his larger goal to shape the next generation.
“I mean, I look at it as a great opportunity, and I think for many folks with a Ph.D., this is an ultimate goal,” Kianfar said. “I started my Ph.D. knowing truly at some point I wanted to become an educator and change and affect the next generation of engineers.”