Challenger profiles 2022

Academic excellence combined with professional training in communication, project management, Indigenous engagement, and more.

Hossein Tabatabaei

Hossein Tabatabaei is working on his MSc in Geotechnical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Priest at the University of Calgary. Previously, he received an MSc (2017) in Geotechnical Engineering from Yazd University in Iran. Hossein has practical experience as a geotechnical engineer both in field and technical office. His current research focuses on laboratory investigation of the geomechanical properties of shale rocks. He is trilingual (Persian, English and some German) and has experience in translation. 

Joelle French

Joelle French is currently a Graduate Student in the Masters of Public Policy Program (MPP) at the University of Calgary (Class of 2022). Previous education includes a Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in Political Science from St. Francis Xavier University (Class of 2017) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Saskatchewan (Class of 2021). Her research interests focus on the intersection of international trade, human rights and climate change. After completing her MPP degree, Joelle is hoping to move into the legal field, as an Articling Student, with a focus on corporate commercial and environmental law and is willing to relocate from Calgary for the right position. In her free time, Joelle can be found training for her second half-marathon, reading in coffee shops, and of course drinking copious amounts of lattes in those same coffee shops.

Hosein Seyed Ghafouri

Hosein Seyed Ghafouri is working towards his PhD in Geomechanics with Prof. Grasselli at the University of Toronto. He received a one-year Doctoral School Diploma (2019) in GeoEngineering, an MSc (2018) in Geotechnical Engineering, and a BSc (2015) in Civil and Environmental Engineering, all from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. He has several years of experience doing research in the field of soil and rock mechanics. Hosein is enthusiastic about Social Sciences and has completed two introductory online programs in Economics and Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Hosein’s research interests include Geothermal Systems, Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources, and Underground Geological Storage. In his spare time, Hosein enjoys reading, cooking, walking, and learning about Data Science. He speaks both English and Persian and knows a little Arabic. 

Jason Shim

Jason Shim’s professional career spans over 20 years of progressively responsible roles in the renewable, petroleum and financial services industry. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the Sustainable Energy Development (SEDV) program at the University of Calgary, Alberta. He has held various engineering roles in drilling, exploitation and production operations with oil and gas companies. He specializes in solar-PV system design, energy production analysis, well planning and drilling engineering, well completions, production optimization, economic and reserves evaluations, and reservoir optimization studies. Jason recently completed an SEDV Capstone research project on the feasibility study of solar PV systems on abandoned coal mine tailings sites. Jason is a registered Professional Engineer with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Petroleum Engineering Technology from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario.

Elisa Dong

Elisa Dong is an MSc Geophysics (Planetary Science Collaboration) student at Western University currently studying aftershock occurrence following large earthquakes. Her interests are broad and range from atmospheric sciences to computational methods. This is reflected in her BSc transcript and past co-op experiences. Elisa likes to visualize complex data in the form of graphs and maps in addition to communicating the results to non-science and broad audiences. Currently, she is interested in short-term projects that involve inter-departmental communications or code-monkeying around unusual datasets. She is also happy to give machine learning methods a go. In her free time, Elisa reads fantasy and sci-fi novels, plays TTRPGs, volunteers for Outreach activities, and walks around her neighbourhood petting friendly cats. Her Github is updated once every few years:

Zachary Cunningham

Zachary Cunningham is working on his MSc in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Calgary. He has a BEng (Hons) in Petroleum Engineering (2020) from UCSI University in Kuala Lumpur, as well as a Diploma in Petroleum Engineering Technology (2014) from NAIT. Before entering advanced studies, he spent extensive time on drilling and workover rigs in Canada and offshore Malaysia in various roles. His research interests include hydrogen development in the Northwest Territories and methane emissions reduction. Prior to studying at the University of Calgary, Zachary spent nearly a decade overseas in Southeast Asia and has a keen interest in the outdoors and sustainability.

Negar Nazari

Negar Nazari is working towards completion of her PhD thesis in Geology with Prof. Shcherbakov and Prof. Hart at the University of Western Ontario. She received her MSc in Petroleum Geoscience from the University of Aberdeen where she completed her thesis with Marathon Oil Inc. Prior to returning to academia, she worked in National Iranian Oil Company as a petroleum geoscientist for six years. Her current research interests include but are not limited to induced seismicity, geomechanics, and hydrocarbon exploration and production. Negar has lived, studied, and worked in three different countries on three different continents. She continues to explore more and for the right position she is willing to relocate. Negar used to be a professional gymnast; she still maintains a very active lifestyle. She is also an avid reader. She has recently started running a virtual book club where she is committed to read 1000 pages a week.

Saeed Hatefi Ardakani

Saeed Hatefi Ardakani is working on his PhD in Civil Engineering with Prof. Gracie at the University of Waterloo. He received his MSc (2013) in Structural Engineering from University of Tehran, in Iran, and a BEng (2010) in Structural Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology, in Iran. He has more than 6 years’ experience in finite element analysis of alloys, concrete, and biomaterials in a high performance computing lab in University of Tehran, Iran. His current research focuses on a physics-informed deep learning approach for reduced order modeling of reservoir simulation, aiming to reduce the dimensionality and complexity of coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) problems. He speaks English and Persian. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, travelling, and watching different professional sports.

Hasmik Asmaryan

Hasmik Asmaryan is working on her MSc in Sustainable Energy Development (SEDV) at the University of Calgary. She has a BSc Hon and MSc in Geology/Geophysics from the Yerevan State University, Armenia and an MSc in Environmental Sciences from the Wageningen University (WUR), the Netherlands. Hasmik’s broad range of research interests includes natural and anthropogenic causes of pollution that lead to degradation of the environment and developing systems thinking to look into potential sustainable solutions to the pollution issues. Hasmik has experience in environmental and social project management, having worked as a Researcher at the National Academy of Sciences, Armenia, a Research Intern at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, and a Program Manager at the Non-Profit Organization Management sector in Canada. An inseparable part of Hasmik’s career is her community engagement, volunteering for various causes and initiatives. Hasmik enjoys crafting, re-using disposed items as a form of art. 


Julie Younes

Julie Younes is working on her PhD in civil engineering with Professor Grasselli at the University of Toronto. She received her MASc in geophysics-georisks from both University Grenoble Alpes – France and the Lebanese University – Lebanon (2020) as part of a double diploma program and a MEng in civil engineering – structure from the Lebanese University – Lebanon (2020). Her research interests include geomechanical modelling of fracture processes in rock blasting and slope stability. Julie speaks Arabic, French and English. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading and dancing.

Katia Ossetchkina

Katia Ossetchkina is a Master of Applied Science student (2021-present) in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, supervised by Professor Peterson and Professor Grasselli. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in 2019 also at the University of Toronto, majoring in Civil Engineering with two minors in Environmental Engineering and Philosophy. Katia has two years of civil engineering research experience, focusing on microscopy, digital imaging, and petrography to investigate the durability of building materials, as well as automation of image analysis and data collection. She also has three years of professional experience with Procter & Gamble as an Application and Data Engineer In Training, where she worked directly with finance and product supply teams to develop integrated middle-ware applications, and automated data validation, platform performance monitoring and testing processes. Her research interests include (but are not limited to): digital and optical imaging techniques, geothermal energy, sustainable materials, and fracture modelling.

Serafim Grubas

Serafim Grubas is a first-year PhD student in Geophysics at the University of Alberta starting Fall 2021. Serafim received a BSc (2019) and MSc (2021) in Geophysics at the Novosibirsk State University (Russia). His previous research was dedicated to using artificial neural networks to boost seismic processing procedures and to solving the eikonal equation. He works under the supervision of Prof. Mirko van der Baan. Serafim’s current research will mainly focus on using machine learning methods for quick detection and localization of earthquakes.

Aref Rizehbandi

Aref Rizehbandi did his BSc in Civil Engineering at the Sharif University of Technology (2017) and received MASc in Civil engineering for risk mitigation at Politecnico di Milano (2020). He was working as a visiting scholar at TU Delft University (2019-2020). He worked on the “Estimation of streamflow based on a combination of Hydraulic modeling and data assimilation” for his Master’s thesis. His research interests include numerical modeling, data assimilation, and Kalman filtering, hydraulic fractures, and slope stability.

Bruna Campos

Bruna Campos is working on her PhD in Civil Engineering with Prof. Gracie at the University of Waterloo. She received her MSc in Structural Engineering (2020) at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and her BSc in Civil Engineering (2017) at the Federal University of Uberlandia, both in Brazil. During her MSc studies, Bruna worked with computational methods for numerical integration techniques in the Generalized Finite Element Method context. Currently, her research focuses on computational geomechanics and wave phenomena in porous media simulations. Bruna speaks Portuguese, English, French, and is looking forward to starting to learn Spanish. In her spare time, Bruna enjoys reading, cooking, and volunteer work.

Dalila Caparroz

Dalila Caparroz is working on her MSc in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Calgary. She received a BSc (2008) in Chemical Engineering from Faculdades Oswaldo Cruz, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dalila has more than six years of experience in the Oil & Gas industry, performing well-testing operations. She worked in Brazil, Angola, and Argentina. Her broad research interests include energy, environment, and safety. Dalila speaks Portuguese, English, and Spanish. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors with her two kids. 

Jesus Rojas Parra

Jesus Rojas Parra is working on his MSc in Geophysics with Prof. David Eaton at the University of Calgary. He has two years of professional experience, mainly in seismic data processing, both active and passive. Additionally, he received a BSc (2018) in Geoscience at Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia. Jesus’ current research interest is in the use of computer programming to speed up the processing time through automatization. He is trilingual (Spanish, English and a little French) and willing to relocate for the right position. Finally, Jesus enjoys the outdoors and sports, especially soccer and rock climbing.

Sarah Hasan

Sarah Hasan is working towards her MPP degree at the University of Calgary (UofC). In 2020, she received her BHSc degree with Honours in Biomedical Sciences from UofC. For the past five years, Sarah has worked on diverse research projects, gaining extensive hands-on research and data analysis experience, and has published work in peer-reviewed journals. After graduating, Sarah founded a non-profit tutoring program for elementary school students in Alberta who have been impacted by the pandemic. She currently sits on three student-led committees at the University of Calgary, and during her spare time, enjoys volunteering with children at the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society.  She also has a passion for art and travelling.  

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