Professor Symeon Gerasimidis from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected by The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and collaborate with Professor Anastasios Sextos of that university’s Civil Engineering Department on a variety of challenging projects.
Gerasimidis is also an alumnus of Aristotle University and a highly accomplished structural engineer who has worked on such larger-than-life structures as the new Yankee Stadium, the Olympic Stadium and Velodrome for the Athens Olympics of 2004, and major interventions associated with the largest Byzantine monuments in Thessaloniki – the Rotunda and the Eptapyrgion. See recent article on Gerasimidis
The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program is designed to help avert Greece’s brain drain and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Greece and the United States and Canada. The fellowship program is managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, and it is funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
As Gerasimidis said about the honor: “I am a strong supporter of the idea that economic recovery in Greece will be triggered by the human capital abroad which can contribute to the Greek economy. Having my initial training from Greek Universities, I am very happy to add myself to this effort and the Greek Diaspora Program. This program provides an excellent mutually beneficial opportunity to work with world-class researchers from Greek Universities and build a foundation for long-term collaborations. It is a real honor to be in the first cohort of scholars selected for the prestigious Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program.”
During his month in Greece, Gerasimidis will do collaborative research in structural mechanics‚ infrastructure resilience‚ response of structures to extreme events, energy structures such as wind turbines and natural gas pipelines‚ and curriculum co-development for a new graduate course in civil engineering on energy structures. In addition, he will also mentor graduate students in structural engineering.
Currently, his research focuses on infrastructure resilience, structural stability, structural response of critical infrastructure systems subjected to extreme-loading events in urban regions, progressive collapse, stability of shell structures, resilient-oriented structural design approaches, damage propagation, and structural response of damaged structures covering a broad spectrum of structural behavior.
Gerasimidis’ employment background includes working as a post-doctoral research scientist at Columbia University, a teaching assistant at Aristotle University, a teaching assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a professional structural engineer for Thornton Tomasetti Engineers in New York City and Santiago Calatrava in Athens. He received his degrees from Aristotle University and MIT.
Gerasimidis is one of 21 Greek- and Cypriot-born scholars, hailing from a cross-section of sixteen prominent United States and Canadian universities, who were chosen for the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program and will conduct academic projects with their peers at Greek universities. The fellows will be working in areas that range from public health to chemical genomics research, and from English language curriculum to continuing education studies in urban food security.
Twelve Greek universities were selected by the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program to host the fellows for collaborative projects that meet specific needs at their institutions and in their communities, through proposals submitted by faculty members and administrators at the Greek universities.
“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is thrilled both with the appeal and interest the program has generated among academics of the diaspora, as well as the wide-ranging expertise of the first round of fellows,” said Stelios Vasilakis, director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “We look forward to these partnerships, which we believe will build long-lasting relationships and be beneficial to all parties involved. We are grateful to the Institute of International Education for their dedication to the program as well as the invaluable input of the esteemed Advisory Council.”
“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s generous support for these fellowships demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to expanding Greece’s human capital and investing in the country’s long-term economic recovery,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education. (January 2016)