Off-site Construction Research Centre

Happy International Women’s Day!

Author: OCRC

Posted on Mar 8, 2023

Category: Events

On March 8, we celebrate the valuable contributions of women. In particular, we want to bring attention to the female researchers on our team who make the OCRC possible.

Samira Rizaee | Research Engineer, UNB-OCRC, PhD, MSc, P.Eng

Samira Rizaee

Samira came to Canada as an international student to pursue her graduate studies more than 10 years ago and faced challenges such as language barrier, cultural differences, etc.

She successfully completed her MSc and PhD degrees in Civil/Structural Engineering at the University of Calgary.

She won numerous awards during her graduate studies and traveled to different countries to present her research at conferences.

Samira is content that she pursued her passion to achieve higher education.

She pursued different internships during her studies in industry and volunteered with organizations such as the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and Habitat for Humanity.

She joined the University of New Brunswick as a Research Engineer with the Off-site Construction Research Centre 2 years ago.

In her current role, Samira leads the development of a building envelope testing facility, supervises graduate students in their experimental research, teaches undergraduate courses and contributes to the growth of the research centre.

Samira believes although life has more challenges for women across the world, they are more than capable tackling them and achieving what they deserve. She stands by women in Afghanistan and Iran and wishes that one day they can have the rights to education, freedom and growth that are taken from them. She believes that if women are given what they deserve, they can make significant differences with their accomplishments!

Zhuo Cheng | Research Assistant, UNB-OCRC, M.Eng

Zhuo Cheng

Zhuo completed her Bachelor of Engineering at Nanjing Forestry University in China before joining OCRC. She then came to Canada to pursue her graduate studies with education funding from UNB and NFU.

While studying, she developed a keen interest in BIM and VDC and participated in various research projects in this area. Upon graduation, with the support of Research Chair, Zhen Lei, and Director of Innovation, Brandon, at the OCRC, Zhuo officially joined OCRC as a Research Assistant.

In her current role, she implements construction-related digital technologies for BIM modeling, 4D scheduling, and visualization to ensure project constructability and repeatability, providing stakeholders with a better understanding of project outcomes and increasing their involvement. She also facilitates coordination within the multidisciplinary team, collaborates on data sharing, and ensures task delivery. In the future, she will focus on Scan-to-BIM and the potential of implementing interactivity software (e.g., game engine) in the off-site construction field.

Zhuo is motivated by the numerous accomplished female engineers she’s met, and aspires to make her own contributions to this industry and receive her professional engineer designation (P.Eng).

In her experience, despite a growing representation of women in industry in China, hidden biases still exist and there is still a long road ahead in terms of achieving gender equality. Zhuo is proud of herself for stepping out of her comfort zone and pursuing her studies and career in a foreign country, despite facing language barriers and cultural differences. She is grateful for all the help she received along the way and firmly believes that women can take on any role within the construction industry.

Mahsa Rezvani | M.Sc.E student researcher, UNB-OCRC

Mahsa Rezvani

Mahsa is currently a Graduate Research Assistant and a MSc.E. student at UNB-OCRC under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Lloyd Waugh.

Mahsa recently had the wonderful opportunity to take a year-long internship with OSCO, Strescon Limited in Saint John, New Brunswick. During this amazing learning opportunity, she mainly focused on practical implementation methods of Extended Reality technologies (AR, MR, VR) in precast concrete and off-site construction.

Before joining the OCRC, she completed her first masters degree in Water Resources Planning and Management at the University of Isfahan in Iran, and focused on the performance assessment of wastewater collection networks.

She found her passion in Construction Engineering and Management during the last few years of her Bachelor's degree in civil engineering at the University of Mazandaran in Iran, between the years of 2012 to 2016. Mahsa spent a year as an assistant construction site coordinator in a 9-story concrete-frame building in northern Iran and found construction engineering and the concrete industry as exciting areas to feed her engineering curiosity!

Mahsa recently won 3rd place in the 5-minute Graduate Student Competition at the Transforming Construction with Reality Capture Technologies (TCRC) Conference in August 2022 at UNB, Fredericton. She also won the Canadian Construction Research Board (NB Chapter) Scholarship, Winter 2022, and Winter 2023.

Despite encountering challenges such as working in a male-dominated industry and facing physical demands on construction sites, Mahsa's unwavering curiosity and rigorous dedication enabled her to immerse herself in learning every aspect of construction. Concrete dirt didn’t stop Mahsa from continuing her passion to take steps ahead and see the potential of innovations in construction.

Mahsa firmly believes in the continued presence of women in construction engineering and their crucial role in shaping the industry's future.

Mahsa stands by Women in Afghanistan, and Iran, for their true right for education in peace.

Fariba Shoeleh | Ph.D. student researcher, UNB-OCRC

Fariba Shoeleh

After Fariba finished her bachelor's degree in architectural engineering, she successfully completed her MSc and PhD degrees in Construction Management at the University of Tehran.

Fariba joined the University of New Brunswick 2 months ago. She is a Ph.D. student at UNB-OCRC supervised by Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Jeff Rankin. Her research focuses on areas related to Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) in off-site construction.

Fariba started her career as a project manager nine years ago. She was successful in managing several projects including a wide range of building types such as hotel, commerce center, residential and office buildings that she delivered on time and to the stakeholders’ expectations.

She also worked as development manager in Nexa group and was successful in enhancing the organization’s productivity in terms of knowledge sharing and implementing quality control processes.

Fariba believes women can take any role on construction industry. Women are strong, resilient, and capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.

Nicole Odo | Project Manager, UNB-OCRC, M.Sc., P.Eng

Nicole Odo

Nicole joined the OCRC in 2020 when she returned to UNB to complete her masters degree under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Rankin.

Prior to her return to school, she gained experience in various positions throughout the J.D.Irving organization, including Process Improvement with the Woodlands Division, and Junior Project Manager for the Construction & Equipment division.

During her studies, she was the recipient of the APEGNB Advanced Studies Scholarship, the Ottis I. Logue Graduate Scholarship, and the R.H.B McLaughlin Fellowship in Civil Engineering.

In addition to her role at the research centre, Nicole is also a small business owner, and operates a highland dance studio in Fredericton called Saorsa Studio.

Nicole is appreciative of the intelligent, supportive and inspiring women she gets to collaborate with at the research centre. She looks women representation continuing to grow in the construction industry, and reaching true gender equality to give females a space they feel welcomed and encouraged by.