2019-02-06 / Features


Dr. Hossein Rahemi

Dr. Hossein Rahemi, the engineering and technology department chair at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, is the facilitator of Vaughn’s annual participation in the VEX Robotics World Championship. The Vaughn College Robotics Team, the only US team that competed among seven international teams in the VEX U Competition, earned first place for the robotics skills champion category and are currently first in the world in that category, with a second place overall finish in the competition that took place in CancĂșn last November. (See the Queens Gazette, December 12, 2018, “Vaughn College’s Robotics Team Earns First Place At Int’l Vex U Competition.”)

Rahemi joined Vaughn College as an associate professor in 1997. A graduate of the New York Institute of Technology, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), he has more than eight years of industrial experience prior to his employment with Vaughn College. He acquired considerable engineering experience in the field of structural analysis, vibration elimination and fatigue prevention of engineering structure working at LIRO Consulting Engineers.

Rahemi has conducted NASA-funded research in nondestructive testing and evaluation of surface and through crack detection using capillary diffusion method (CDM). He is the author of numerous conference papers, books and the annual Vaughn College Journal of Engineering and Technology (VCJET). He is also the facilitator of Vaughn’s annual participation in the VEX Robotics World Championship, the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Conference. Additionally, he is the principal investigator for the Hispanic-Serving Institution STEM grant and adviser to all engineering and technology student clubs.

QG: What’s the most gratifying aspect of your work?

HR: I enjoy being around students and engaging them in scholarly activities and STEM-related hands-on competitions. I believe through these activities students are able to apply what they learn in the class to a real-world engineering project that not only enhances their creative and innovative minds, but also makes them responsible individuals with a mindset to contribute and have an impact in advancement of their society.

QG: What is the most challenging?

HR: Having more people with passion to motivate, encourage and engage students in every possible STEM related activity. Also, having more space allowing our students to build, practice, and improve their work to perfection. Currently our Automotive Club has small space for its activities to get ready for 2019 Formula 1 SAE competition.

And having a budget that can get more students involved with STEM-related activities.

QG: How did you get into engineering?

HR: As a child I was curious about how things such as electricity, the phone, TV, refrigerator, and car worked. As I got older I started to read more about innovators and learned math, physics, and science, together with the innovative minds that are behind those creations.

QG: What are some new areas you see robotics expanding into?

HR: Today, robotics technology is advancing at a lightning pace, making our lives easier, better and safer than ever before. We’re seeing robots going places that are too difficult or dangerous for humans to go, such as war zones, deep within the sea, and bomb-threat areas, just to name a few.

QG: What other engineering developments do you see as exciting to the general public? What developments would you like to see?

HR: Many things that we currently have in our households will be replaced with new gadgets or disappear. As an example, I’d like to see TV be replaced by cell phone projections on any wall in our homes.

QG: Do you live in Queens? What do you like about it?

HR: I used to live in Fresh Meadows, from 1998 to 2002. I liked its accessibility to Vaughn College, LaGuardia Airport, Chinatown, shopping centers, and many restaurants with delicious multi-cultural food (Chinese, Italian, Mediterranean, Greek, Asian, and Latin American). I now live in Long Island. I enjoy reading poems by Omar Khayyam and Rumi. My favorite sport is basketball. I enjoy travel and nature. My favorite foods are Persian, Mexican, Italian, and Greek.

QG: What would be the highlight of the most recent robotics competition (or any past one)?

HR: Since 2014 Vaughn’s robotics team has been able to qualify for the VEX U World Championship and advance to the playoff rounds (top eight teams) of this challenging competition. The highlight was the 2016 VEX U World Championship, Nothing But Net, in which Vaughn’s team finished first in the world stage, with the world title award. In addition, the team won Design Division Champion Award, as well as the Innovate Award and the Design Award for demonstrating strong ingenuity and innovation in the design of their robots. The other highlight was the 2014 VEX U World Championship; Vaughn’s team finished second in the world stage and received both Finalist and Amaze awards.

QG: What would be the highlight of the most recent UAV competition?

HR: Since 2016 Vaughn’s UAV team has been selected as a finalist, along with Georgia Tech, Penn State, North Dakota State University, University of Maryland, and Concordia University to participate in the annual Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) student challenge competition of American Helicopter Society (AHS) Conference. The highlight was the 2018 AHS-MAV competition, in which Vaughn’s team won first place in the Best Remotely-Controlled Target Search award with a $2,000 check, and Honorable Mention with a $1,000 check for autonomous category.

—Annette Hanze Alberts

This column was originated in July, 2013 by Nicollette Barsamian.

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