Alumni Spotlight: Amir Shooshtari

Dr. Amir Shooshtari
Research Scientist

Dr. Amir Shooshtari is a Research Scientist in the Small and Smart Thermal Systems. He received his Ph.D. in 2004 in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland, and since has been a member of research faculty at CEEE. His research interests include design and development of advanced thermofluid processes, electronic cooling, two-phase flow, fluid flow in porous media, energy conversion, high heat flux exchangers, energy auditing, waste heat recovery, and alternative energy systems.

Originally from Iran, he earned his mechanical engineering degree at Sharif University.  “In Iran at that time, the best career choices for young men were medicine or engineering,” says Shooshtari.  His father was a doctor, who worked very hard for many years.  “I thought engineering would be an easier career,” he joked, “I was wrong”.  He says that from a young age he was interested in mechanical things, “I enjoyed taking things apart, but not so much putting them back together.”

He has been with the University of Maryland since 1999, at first as a graduate student.  After graduation in 2004 he stayed with CEEE working on behalf of the AHX/EC consortium.  His work for AHX/EC focuses on trying to get further away from conventional methods and find novel approaches to smaller, smarter, on-demand systems, and look into new manufacturing techniques.  Shooshtari and his colleagues at AHX/EC work in collaboration with many organizations such as Honeywell, Boeing, NASA, the Department of Energy, and the U.S. Navy to name a few.

He works with students in the Small and Smart Thermal Systems laboratory, meeting with them daily on the numerical and analytical side of the consortium’s research.  He’s also the consortium’s sponsors’ ‘go to guy’.  He not only works in research, but teaches a class or two each semester to graduate or undergraduate students. “Talents needed for being a good teacher and a good researcher are not necessarily the same,” says Shooshtari.  Over the years, though, he has become used to juggling many different types of duties and says that he has learned to balance doing both research and teaching, and being able to quickly “change direction” to handle whatever challenge comes up.  

His advice to students wanting to work in academic research is to really take a hard look at where your strengths lie.  “Make sure you really like conducting research, be honest with yourself,” says Shooshtari, “Do you like working with young people and putting in long hours?”

Speaking of long hours, you can often find Shooshtari working in the lab on Saturdays.  During his precious free time he enjoys jogging and other outdoor pursuits, and watching all sorts of movies –international films in particular.  He also enjoys travel and sightseeing with friends, and says the best trips are planned with more importance on ‘with whom’, than ‘where’.