Denne månedens betongprofil er en meget oppegående dame som brenner for jobben sin som universitetsprofessor i konstruksjonsteknikk. Bli kjent med Saminidi Samarakoon.
Samindi blir motivert av å stadig være i utvikling og at hun gjennom sin jobb kan bidra til en positiv utvikling både for studentene, faget og samfunnet. Særlig synes hun det er meningsfullt å utvikle mer miljøvennlige betongkonstruksjoner. Samindi er en engasjert dame, som tidligere i år ledet Scientific Commitee for fib Conceptual Design Symposium 2023 i Oslo sammen med Ingrid Lande.
Kan du fortelle hvilken stilling du har og litt konkret om hva du jobber med på en vanlig arbeidsdag?
Currently, I am working as a professor of structural engineering (Concrete structures and materials) at Department of Mechanical and Structural Engineering (IMBM), University of Stavanger. My role encompasses teaching, research, mentorship, administration, and professional development. It’s a dynamic and multifaceted position that contributes to both the academic community and the broader field of civil engineering and construction.
Hva er din bakgrunn og hvordan fattet du interesse for betong?
My educational journey commenced with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, where I acquired a solid foundation in various aspects of civil engineering, encompassing materials, structural analysis, and construction techniques. Subsequent to my undergraduate studies, I pursued a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. Additionally, I earned a PhD in Offshore Engineering from the University of Stavanger in Norway. Furthermore, I have achieved an equivalent PhD qualification in the durability of concrete structures from the University of Stavanger. My academic background and my profound interest in concrete structures have been cultivated through a combination of educational pursuits, research experiences, and a genuine passion for the versatility, durability, and sustainability attributes of concrete. This passion remains a driving force in my role as a professor in this specialized field.
My primary focus lies in exploring methods to make concrete structures more environmentally friendly, including the incorporation of circular economy concepts and the reduction of their carbon footprint. The field of concrete structures is continually evolving, with new design and construction techniques emerging. Being at the forefront of these innovations and contributing to advancements in structural engineering is a rewarding aspect of my career.
Hva liker du ved jobben din og hva er det som driver deg?
What I like about my job as a professor is the combination of teaching, research, and impact on society. What drives me is my passion for the subject matter, the opportunity to make a difference, the potential to inspire others, and the ongoing pursuit of knowledge and innovation in the field of concrete structures. My genuine passion for concrete structures and structural engineering is a significant driving force. I find concrete to be a fascinating and versatile material, and I’m driven by the desire to continuously deepen my understanding of its properties, behavior, and applications. Knowing that my research and teaching can make a positive impact on the field of civil engineering and, ultimately, on society as a whole is a powerful motivator. I’m driven by the belief that through education and research, we can contribute to safer, more sustainable, and more resilient infrastructure. Academia provides an environment where learning never stops. I’m driven by the constant need to stay up to date with the latest advancements in my field, engage with emerging technologies, and adapt to new challenges.
Har du noen personlige egenskaper som kommer spesielt godt med i denne jobben?
Personal qualities such as passion, patience, communication skills, adaptability, empathy, organization, critical thinking, creativity, leadership, resilience, and ethical integrity play a significant role in being an effective person in academia. These qualities contribute to creating a positive and impactful educational experience for students and advancing research in the field. Upholding the highest ethical standards is vital in academia. I serve as ethical guides for my students and maintain academic integrity in my research and teaching. Encouraging students to think critically and solve complex problems is a fundamental part of the job. I guide students in developing these skills.
Hva er det meste spennende/morsomste du har vært med på i jobbsammenheng?
My academic career primarily involves teaching, research, and academic responsibilities. One notable approach I’ve employed is ‘active learning by doing,’ which emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning to enhance the development of university students. We integrated a laboratory exercise involving the casting of a reinforced beam and conducting beam tests to enhance their knowledge and capabilities. After implementing this laboratory task, we observed that students actively engaged in their learning through practical activities, leading to increased engagement and motivation. This, in turn, fostered a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
Hva fyller du fritiden din med når du ikke holder på med betong?
I am married to a professor in mechanical engineering and have two children. Spending time with loved ones is a top priority for me. Whether it’s sharing a meal, watching a movie, or engaging in meaningful conversations, these moments are truly precious. I also greatly appreciate spending time in the great outdoors. Whether it involves hiking, cycling, or simply taking long walks in nature, being in natural settings helps clear my mind and rejuvenate my spirit. Exploring new places, cultures, and cuisines is a passionate pursuit of mine. Traveling allows me to unwind, gain fresh perspectives, and savor the beauty of different landscapes and communities. Staying physically active is essential for my overall well-being, both physically and mentally. Whether it means hitting the gym or participating in group fitness classes, exercise is an integral part of my daily routine. Balancing these activities with my professional responsibilities enables me to maintain a well-rounded and fulfilling life. Recharging and finding inspiration in various aspects of life are crucial for bringing fresh perspectives and creativity to my work in the field of concrete structures.