After earning his B.Sc. in civil engineering from Alexandria University in Egypt, Abdelrahman Ismael turned his sights on Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “It’s well known in the engineering field and famous for the civil engineering department as one of the oldest in the country,” he said. “José Holguín-Veras is a famous expert and researcher in the field of freight transportation, and that is another reason I chose to come here.”

Ismael completed his master’s in transportation engineering at Rensselaer, and will receive his Ph.D. at Commencement on May 21, 2022. His research focus is on freight transportation and sustainable urban logistics – in other words, how to make deliveries and parking more efficient. In studying how to make deliveries more efficient, the end result is less traffic congestion and reduced emissions; for parking, looking at how to assign vehicles to specific parking spots will also reduce congestion and the effects of illegal parking.

Ismael was the recipient of the 2021 Dr. Louis J. Pignataro Memorial Transportation Education Award, which recognizes “a student or faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding performance in their studies or in their teaching.” He said he was very appreciative for the nomination by his adviser.

No stranger to awards, he was part of a team of doctoral students from Rensselaer who won first place at the Supply Chain Data Analytics Competition, with an aim to help Feeding America in its mission to end hunger. He placed second at the 2021 National Institute of Justice Recidivism Forecasting Challenge, and was a finalist in the American Traffic Safety Services Association Traffic Control Device Student Challenge and at the American Traffic Safety Association/National Academy of Science Transportation Research Board Traffic Control Device Student Challenge.

“To be in a competition with amazing minds and get an award is great, and gives you a great experience as well in terms of application of your education, presentation skill, and promoting your work,” said Ismael.

Ismael plans to join Argonne National Laboratory after graduation, although he intends to continue his studies on a part-time basis in related disciplines. He leaves Rensselaer with many memories but says “they all have in common the support and sharing among my friends from the grad students across the whole Ph.D. journey.”