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UGPTI Researcher Earns Fulbright Appointment in Jordan

Picture of Ayman SmadiA prestigious Fulbright Scholar grant will allow an Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute researcher to spend 10 months teaching and helping develop research programs at the University of Jordan in Amman.

Beginning in January, UGPTI advanced research fellow Ayman Smadi will teach a graduate course in urban transportation planning and help develop the university's transportation research program. He says the effort will help Jordan address critical transportation needs through education and research. "Jordan has made great strides toward modernizing its economy and implementing sweeping reforms. Transportation is a key ingredient for supporting continued growth and development," Ayman says.

Smadi is a native of Jordan and is now a U.S. citizen. "I spent the first half of my life in Jordan and the second half in the United States, so in a sense I feel like I am bi-cultural," Smadi says. "This is not only an excellent professional opportunity, it is also an opportunity to help NDSU link to quality students from Jordan who want to eventually study in the United States."

Smadi earned a master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Iowa State University. He has been at the UGPTI since 1993 and has been director of the UGPTI's Advanced Traffic Analysis Center since 1998. Smadi will continue to serve in that capacity during the Fulbright award term.

Smadi says the success of the project will lead to a long-lasting program of collaborative transportation education and research between NDSU and Jordanian universities in the areas of transportation and logistics. "We have had several positive experiences with graduate students recruited from the University of Jordan and this project could solidify a formal link to recruit highly qualified students to NDSU's Transportation and Logistics graduate program. He will also be exploring research opportunities for the UGPTI in areas related to transportation planning and logistics and supply chain management.

Smadi notes that rapid growth in the Middle East region has attracted private and public transportation expertise from around the globe. "This project will allow UGPTI to gain international experience and exposure in the region. As a researcher and educator, the experience will provide me with additional insights and allow me to develop international case studies that can enhance the UGPTI program."

Smadi is one of about 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Smadi's rigorous 14-month application process included evaluations by committees in the United States and in Jordan.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Fulbright program's purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Published in NDSU's staff newsletter
It's Happening at State
Dec. 5, 2007

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