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Sasha Minjarez | July 22, 2022

Civil Engineering Graduate Programs Director Transition

Civil Engineering Graduate Programs Director Transition


After more than a decade of devotedly fulfilling the position, Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D. will be stepping down at the end of July as Graduate Programs Director in the Department of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso. Kelvin Cheu, Ph.D. has accepted the appointment for the position to commence in August.

The Graduate Programs Director is responsible for informing and advising students on graduate degree programs, opportunities for TAships, reviewing and deciding admittance into all master’s and doctoral degrees offered within the department. The director is appointed to perform duties that fall in line with the staunch advocacy of graduate students and graduate program requisites, engaging extensively with students, a role Nazarian fulfilled with excellence.

“I would like to express my utmost gratitude to him for his service to the department in this position all these years. Soheil has done an excellent job for almost 13 years. During his leadership, our masters’ programs have experienced healthy enrollments and our Ph.D. program was consolidated. He also developed protocols to smooth the admission of new students and to monitor the progress of our graduate students through their studies,” Civil Engineering Department Chair Carlos Ferregut, Ph.D. said.

“It has been a pleasure to serve the department for the last 13 years,” Nazarian said.

For the duration of his term, Nazarian has served to strengthen the graduate program tremendously, leaving behind an enduring impression that speaks emphatic volumes for itself.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Kelvin Cheu has accepted to be the Director of Graduate Programs. Kelvin is very familiar with the Graduate School leadership and processes as a result of the two dual master’s programs that he has developed and implemented successfully. I am looking forward to work with him in his new role for the benefit of our graduate students and the growth of our programs,” Ferregut said.

Cheu expects to exponentially expand the program to new heights by enlisting new students and capitalizing on opportunities through varied avenues.

“Under Dr. Nazarian’s leadership, the graduate programs in the CE Department have seen steady growth in the number of programs, enrollment, and graduates. This position gives me the opportunity to work with all the graduate and Ph.D. students in the department outside the classroom for the entire life cycle– from application until graduation and becoming alumni,” Cheu said. “As I see it now, the main challenge is to grow our graduate programs through innovative efforts in recruiting. There is room to recruit students from non-traditional sources, such as neighboring institutions across the border, and our study abroad program partners. Looking forward, we can also take advantage of our faculty members’ recent success in research to align and rebrand our Ph.D. in the Civil Engineering Program to make it more attractive.”

We earnestly thank Nazarian for his many years of service in this position and warmly welcome Cheu as our newly designated Graduate Programs Director.

Civil Engineering

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