Spotlight: Building Construction Doctoral Student Amna Salman
The first class of doctoral students in Auburn’s McWhorter School of Building Science is set to begin coursework this fall, and Amna Salman is one of three students who have been accepted to pursue a doctorate in building construction. One of only seven programs nationwide, Auburn’s doctoral program will be research-based and will focus on both traditional and emerging areas in building science.
Amna says that her childhood travels around the world shaped her vision to pursue a career in building design. She earned an undergraduate degree in architecture in Pakistan in 2007 followed by a dual Masters in Community Planning (MCP) and Public Administration (MPA) from Auburn in 2013. After working at Auburn as a campus planner, Amna felt compelled to build upon and share her knowledge of the field and began teaching at Auburn’s undergraduate building science program as an adjunct professor in 2017.
Through her teaching, Amna introduced hand-on projects based on experiential learning as a way to improve the students’ learning and knowledge retention and utilized Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) tools to provide a realistic learning experience. “I strongly believe that thoughtful and well-researched teaching can make a real difference in the student learning outcomes,” Amna stated. Since beginning that research, she has published nine papers in peer-reviewed publications, presented her findings nationally and internationally and received over $37,000 dollars in teaching and research grants.
Amna, a recipient of a Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship from Auburn, plans to focus her research on design and implementation of smart facility management systems that would serve as a building block for smart cities. Amna is eager to work on this research with Dr. Anoop Sattineni, William A. Hunt Endowed Associate Professor and Executive Programs Chair, because of his experience and expertise in the field of construction information and communication technology. “The McWhorter School of Building Science provides excellent facilities and resources for conducting creative research,” Amna stated. “And my own connections at Auburn’s Facilities Management division will be very helpful for prototype development and testing.”