PhD Candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Maher Said is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. His research explores how innovative automated delivery technologies will be received in society. As a member of Professor Amanda Stathopoulos’ Mobility and Behavior Lab, Maher is actively involved in research and teaching. He has worked on many projects and studies focusing on modeling, simulation, and data analysis, highlighting choice modeling, structural equation modeling, and benefit-cost analysis.
How would you describe your research and/or work to a non-academic audience?
I study the effects of introducing automated modes of transport on individual behavior, whether it’s toward personal travel or parcel shipping. Additionally, I have been actively studying the effect of COVID-19 on travel behavior during the past few months.
What have been some of the most memorable twists and turns of your career?
The most memorable twist of my career was quitting my job on the spot to apply for a master's degree, which put me on a path to be part of my PhD program today.
Tell us what inspired your research and/or work.
During my undergraduate studies in civil engineering, I took a graduate-level course called Transportation Urban Planning. That course had a huge influence on my academic career and my current research and work.
What is the biggest potential impact or implication of your work?
My work has great economic and environmental implications by improving and optimizing the logistics of transport within the U.S. and globally. Small improvements for every trip—be it personal or for a package—create a ripple effect that reduces traffic, pollution, and fuel consumption.
How do you unwind after a long day?
A good TV show or some video games. Sometimes tinkering or fixing electronics does the trick, too!
What books are on your bedside table?
Et si c'etait vrai... by Marc Levy, The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, and Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley.
How would your closest friends describe you?
A "grumpy old man"… I'm 29!
What did you originally want to be when you grew up?
What advice would you give your younger self or someone considering a similar path?
Don’t focus too much on "the path" because it changes and twists so often that putting too much stress on that is exhausting. What's worth focusing on is putting good effort into growth, whether professionally or personally.
Tell us about a current achievement or something you're working on that excites you.
My most recent achievement is winning the Loyola Quinlan School of Business Supply Chain Management Data Analytics Competition for the second year in a row. Working on that competition is always interesting, challenging, and rewarding.
Published: October 13, 2020
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