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Dr. Ekici Energizing the Graduate Program and His Research

EkiciDr. Kivanc Ekici has recently gained a new position as Graduate Programs Director in MABE. This position is an opportunity Dr. Ekici is looking forward to.

“Being given the chance to serve as the director means a lot as I really enjoy working with graduate students and helping them with their research. The mentorship that I received during my graduate studies and as a post-doctoral research associate plays a big role in how I will continue to grow and excel the program,” Dr. Ekici said.

Before becoming Department Head, Dr. Matthew M. Mench held the position of Graduate Programs Director for two years.

“He implemented a great system, and I am lucky that the groundwork has already been laid,” Dr. Ekici said.

During Dr. Ekici’s term as the director, he would like to continue to improve the system. One way he would like to do this is by establishing and energizing a sense of community and collegiality among graduate students who are members of different research groups and labs in the department.

Besides actively participating in his new role, Dr. Ekici is continually working on his research that won an NSF Career Award back in August 2012. His NSF CAREER proposal titled, “CAREER: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Innovative Design of Wind Turbines” aims to develop new wind turbine designs for improved reliability and performance. Dr. Ekici said that as fossil fuel supplies are rapidly diminishing, alternative means of power generation such as renewable technologies is becoming a necessity. He said wind turbine technology is one of these renewable energy sources, and it has already seen an increased popularity and usage in the past decade.

Dr. Ekici anticipates that wind energy’s contribution to the United States electricity supply will increase in the next 20 years. He believes reliable and efficient design of new wind turbines is of utmost importance for the country’s energy independence and for minimizing the environmental impacts of carbon based fuels.

“I envision it [wind turbine energy] being utilized more as part of a balanced mix that includes fossil fuels, nuclear, as well as other renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and biomass,” Dr. Ekici said.

Since August 2012, the NSF CAREER Award has helped Dr. Ekici fund three graduate students in his lab. In the first year, the main focus was on initiating the development of advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools needed for the analysis of complex fluid flow inherent in the operation of horizontal axis wind turbines. As a result of Dr. Ekici’s and lab members’ research activities, they have published two conference papers and submitted one journal manuscript, and are currently working on publishing more.

“Winning this award is one of the most prestigious accomplishments in my career. In the past five years since I’ve joined the faculty, seven of my colleagues in the department won this prestigious award and this success rate is outstanding given the fact that NSF, on average, funds around 15 percent of the NSF CAREER proposals it receives each year,” Dr. Ekici said.

He notes that being associated with such a bright group of young faculty has truly made a positive, significant impact on himself and his research. Dr. Ekici has a lot on his plate right now, but he is energized to meet his goals – as the Graduate Program Director and leader for his NSF CAREER proposal research.


Written By: Jenna E. McVey