We spoke with Alessandro Fascetti, a Lecturer in civil engineering at the University of Waikato.

What’s your role at the University of Waikato?

I’m a lecturer in civil engineering. I joined the University of Waikato two years ago and am interested in structural dynamics, earthquake engineering and failure mechanics of construction materials.

Why did you enter the world of academia?

During my Masters, I spent six months as a visiting student at the University of California, Davis, performing research on structural robustness – and I just fell in love with academia!

What’s the best thing about teaching students?

Witnessing the creativity of our students. There’s something magical and inspiring about being in a workshop with dozens of students working on their structural designs. Being part of that process makes me proud of my job.

How have you adapted your teaching style following Covid-19?

We all faced great challenges in moving to a fully online teaching delivery mode. During the lockdown, I was teaching earthquake engineering and design. The most challenging part was certainly the delivery of lab activities. I was lucky enough to have great support from our technical officers and recorded videos and data for all the labs in advance so that we were able to keep all the scheduled activities for the paper. The bright side is I was impressed with how well our students responded to such a difficult situation and how eager they were to learn and participate.

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Alessandro Fascetti

Why are you a member of Engineering New Zealand?

I believe networking and professional development are a crucial part of our profession. Engineering New Zealand is a great resource for both of these aspects and I really enjoy the academic monthly catch up meetings, as we get to share experiences, thoughts and daily challenges with colleagues from other universities.

Which Engineering New Zealand technical groups do you belong to, and why do you belong to them?

I am a member of SESOC, NZSEE and the Rivers Group. Through these technical groups, I’ve been able to network with colleagues and practitioners in the Waikato region and beyond, which is of crucial importance for both teaching and research purposes. I also find the seminars organised by the technical groups to be of great interest to me and my students.

What’s your favourite piece of engineering in Waikato?

The Ruakiwi Reservoir near Lake Rotorua. Few people know that was built in 1932 and it’s still fully functional. I’m fascinated by architectural heritage and structural restoration.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m a home baker: there’s so much science behind bread-making and I'm really fascinated by it. I play tennis, although not as much as I would like. I’m also a drummer and listen to a lot of music.