|Ani Natali Sigaher|
Ani Natali Sigaher is a Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo. Her advisor is MCEER researcher Dr. Michael C. Constantinou, Professor and Chair of the department. Her research concentrates on the development, testing and modeling of innovative energy dissipation configurations, such as the recently developed "toggle-brace" and "scissor-jack" systems. These systems extend the applicability of damping devices to stiff systems and to systems under wind excitation. Conventional damper configurations in such systems are ineffective due to the small drift that they undergo.
In addition to her research work, Natali has served as president of the EERI Student Chapter at UB (UB-EERI) in 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 academic years, as well as president of MCEER's Student Leadership Council since its inception last year. Natali was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, which is located in a region that is known to be seismically active and has suffered a number of devastating earthquakes. According to Natali, when she was studying civil engineering at Bogazici University, she took a few courses on earthquake engineering and "met professors who were involved in projects which attracted my interest. I realized that although earthquakes have always been a threat to Turkey, there was still a lot to be done. By the time I was preparing for graduate school, I had decided to concentrate on earthquake engineering."
Natali has been part of several reconnaissance efforts investigating earthquakes in Turkey. Following the 1995 Dinar earthquake, she was part of a team comprised of researchers from three major universities of Turkey. She observed, "It was long after the earthquake but the pain and suffering the people went through was still there. This helped me to see how immense the responsibility of a civil engineer is when designing a building; the slightest mistake was paid by innocent people. Following the site visit, I took part in the retrofit of the slight to medium damaged reinforced concrete and masonry buildings - a project assigned to the universities by the Turkish government." Several years later, in 1999, Natali was in Istanbul when the deadly Izmit earthquake struck a major part of Marmara Region on August 17th. She visited several of the severely damaged areas, just days after the earthquake, as part of the U.S. reconnaissance team.
Natali expects to graduate in May 2002. Since her earliest years in graduate school, she has been heavily involved in research on earthquake engineering. She has taught classes at the university and tutored privately. As a result, teaching and research have been her major academic interests. She plans to look for a faculty position where she can be involved both in teaching and research. She is also interested in working as a practicing engineer, in a company where she could have the opportunity to use her knowledge on earthquake engineering and contribute to advances in this field.
In her spare time, Natali enjoys going to the movies, traveling (especially to Turkey to see her family), biking and swimming in the summers and playing the piano.