Congratulations Graduates: Huong Pham and Mm Shakiul Haque

Two PhD candidates from NTC took their final steps as University of Nebraska-Lincoln students during the graduation ceremony this spring. Huong Pham and Mm Shakiul Haque were exemplary researchers in the university’s transportation engineering field.

Dr. Laurence Rilett and Huong Pham wearing graduation ceremony gowns.
Dr. Laurence Rilett (left) and Huong Pham (right).
Photo courtesy of Huong Pham

Dr. Huong Pham

Pham completed her undergraduate degree at Hanoi University of Transportation and Communication in Vietnam, and her Masters at Hiroshima University in Japan during two years of sponsorship from the MEXT program. So far from home, she was grateful for Mark Meyer from the University Lutheran Chapel and his family who helped her settle down in Lincoln during her first few months.

“I just love everything about UNL and the city of Lincoln,” Huong disclosed. At the university she has met many colleagues and friends, including her adviser Dr. Laurence Rilett and committee members. “Without their expert advice and constant encouragement I couldn’t achieve the degree.” Pham thanks the administrative staff at NTC/MATC and the UNL Office of Graduate Studies in setting up her office and accessing campus facilities. She said the entire campus, REC, and libraries were “incredibly inspirational to recharge myself after research hours.” Pham also enjoyed the diversity at UNL, saying “overall the multicultural vibe of UNL makes Lincoln like my second hometown.”

To complete her PhD, Pham developed a dissertation to help the transition to a fully connected and autonomous vehicle roadway environment by studying driver behavior recognition. Her research evaluated current state-of-the-art methodologies for predicting critical maneuvers using a newly released naturalistic trajectory dataset recorded by unmanned aerial vehicles, and developed a new methodology to detect driver behavior. Now that she has graduated, her plan is to teach at the Hanoi University of Transportation and Communication back in Vietnam.

Dr. Laurence Rilett (left) with Mm Shakiul Haque (center) and his wife (right) standing and smiling with graduation gowns
Dr. Laurence Rilett (left) with Mm Shakiul Haque (center) with his wife (right).
Photo courtesy of Mm Shakiul Haque

Dr. Mm Shakiul Haque

Before coming to UNL, Haque completed his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology in Bangladesh and his Master of Science in Civil Engineering at Lamar University in Texas. Both degrees concentrated in Transportation Engineering, and during his graduate studies he worked with the Texas Department of Transportation on a congestion mitigation project in the Houston area. He says of the experience, “this project raised my interest in traffic engineering research and the microsimulation model of the transportation system.”

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln proved to fit Haque’s interests perfectly. He knew he could find a place in MATC and NTC’s many excellent transportation engineering-related projects and impressive Transportation Systems Engineering lab. Haque’s dissertation studied the sixth edition of the Highway Capacity Manual’s model for two-lane highway lane closures. It then proposed a comprehensive methodology to model lane-closure work zones, along with developing a traffic control system named "The Nebraska University Signal Timing Method".

After graduating, Haque’s plan is to gain more research experience working with transportation engineering related projects, and would later like to pursue a career in academia combining his graduate teaching and academic research experiences. He says, “my career goal is to share my experience to aid future generations to flourish in their pursuit of education and serve the public with efficient, safe transportation systems.”

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