Pioneer Spotlight: Dr. Asad Azemi

Dr. Asad Azemi

This summer, Dr. Asad Azemi joined UW-Platteville as the department chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering. Prior to his move to the Midwest, Azemi was an associate professor of engineering at Penn State. His research interests are in the areas of estimation and signal processing with agriculture and health science applications.

Azemi became interested in engineering at a young age. It continued to grow after a family member pursued the degree. "I feel like anyone who is interested in math and physics tends to look into engineering as an option for a major," he said. "My cousin went to school for engineering and I followed."

Azemi earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from UCLA. He continued his education at Loyola Marymount and the University of Arkansas, where he received his master's and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering.

Azemi is looking forward to getting to know the campus community and interacting with students. He will teach his first course this spring.

You began your tenure at UW-Platteville in July as the department chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering. How has your experience been so far, and what have you enjoyed about Southwest Wisconsin?

It’s been good. COVID-19 has put a spin on everything. As a department head, you are usually going to see students and faculty, but now we are doing everything over Zoom. To feel more like normal, I come to campus every day and do my work from my office. It’s been fine, but I’m looking forward to things going back to normal. I think everybody is looking forward to that.

We are adjusting to Wisconsin. We moved from a suburb outside of Philadelphia. We lived on the East Coast for a long time. It’s taking a little bit of time to get adjusted to rural America. People have been friendly. [Platteville] is a quiet town and very friendly.

You were awarded a faculty research fellowship through the Dairy Innovation Hub initiative. Can you explain the research you are conducting and how it could strengthen the dairy industry?

I like to use my knowledge and apply it in other fields. I have done collaborative work with faculty in different engineering fields, mathematics and medicine. Most recently, I have started collaborative research related to agriculture. Applying for the fellowship was in line with my previous works that included engineering applications in other fields. I saw the faculty research opportunity before I joined [UW-Platteville].  I found it very interesting and something that I could contribute to. I talked to some of the faculty on campus and we put together a collaborative proposal. We are applying artificial intelligence to solve a complex problem. The main idea is to help farmers detect a couple of common diseases in cows before they become serious. Artificial intelligence will be used to obtain early detection of the disease.  I hope that I can continue working in this area beyond this project.

You will be teaching your first class at UW-Platteville next semester. What are you most looking forward too?

I hope the first course goes smoothly. I want to get to know the students. As the department chair, I always look for ways to better understand students and faculty needs to help them achieve their goals. Teaching a course provides me an opportunity to accomplish that.

I will be teaching an engineering computation course. It’s a course mostly junior students will take. It will go over statistics, probability, mathematics and programming that they will need for later courses.

What is the most rewarding part of being an educator?

As an educator, we help students learn new skills to help them with their careers and lives.  The most rewarding part is when you know you have helped a student, and they are on their path to success, and you are helping them achieve their potentials. It is gratifying to help people to achieve their best. 

Outside of campus, you enjoy sightseeing. What places do you hope to explore in Wisconsin?

Traveling to the surrounding communities, the small towns look interesting. We have been to Madison several times, but beyond that Milwaukee is another place, and other big cities in the area to see what they have to offer. Living in Platteville also gives us an opportunity to explore Iowa and Illinois.

There are camping areas around here that look interesting. I haven’t been camping in a long time. It’s another thing we are planning to do.