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Student Spotlight June 2013






Abu Sufiyan received a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 2003. In 2005, he received a Masters in Development Studies from University of Dhaka. Currently, Abu is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban and Public Affairs at UofL. 


Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

My doctoral dissertation is on differential impacts of disaster on the poor. Bangladesh is a country which is often affected by cyclones and floods. After graduating, I worked in a nonprofit organization for a few years and had the opportunity to view the sufferings of poor people. I began to think how I could alter the situation. In my current research, I study a specific issue and different policy interventions that might ameliorate the conditions of the poor in a disaster situation. 

Awards, honors, publications:

Sufiyan, A. M. (2013). “Initiatives of Global Cities in Environmental Sustainability: A Case of London and New York City.” Journal of Sustainable Development, Volume 6, Issue 3 pages 1-15.

Co-authored with John I. Gilderbloom, “Beyond Preservation: Using Public History to Revitalize Inner Cities by Andrew Hurley,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 197–199, January 2012.

Co-authored with David M. Simpson, “Animals in Planning and Disaster: An Overview,” Journal of Planning Literature (Submitted).

Long-term goals/ aspirations:

My research is obviously a starting point. I will delve deeper into these topics in the future. My long-term aspiration is to make scholarly contributions in my field.

How would you describe your area of study/ specific research to your grandmother?

Disasters have different impacts on different people. When cyclones strike, those who have cottages are always washed away, but those who have strong buildings can easily be sustained. I am trying to find these differences in an organized way. 

How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?

This advanced degree is a doorway for me to perform further research. After graduating, I can apply for grants and conduct independent research projects that will help to better understand socio-economic and political dynamics of society. 

What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

This year I published an article in the Journal of Sustainable Development. Academically, it was my most significant achievement.

What made you go into this field of study?

From the beginning of human history, nature has stricken every now and then. The frequency of natural disasters is growing in recent decades. We cannot control nature, but better management can reduce the suffering of people. My study will be a tiny piece of a puzzle toward achieving that goal. 

What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?

My favorite part of the graduate school experience was the opportunity to participate in The School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies PLAN initiative as well as other professional development workshops. 

What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

The education system is different in many countries. When an international student comes into the U.S. education system, the first challenge is acclimating to this new educational system. I participated in different workshops that helped me to deal with these challenges. Suggestions from my fellow graduate students were also very helpful.   

Family life:

My family lives in Bangladesh. I have a beautiful nephew and niece. 

Fun Facts

A talent you have always wanted: It's always changing.  
Favorite book: The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. 
Favorite quote:  “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth." -Niels Bohr 
Role Model: Myself. 
Pet Peeve:  When people waste their energy on television news. 
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Organic Farming.


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