Building a Foundation Across Countries
May 23, 2013

Originally from Dodola, Ethiopia, Seneshaw Tsegaye came to the University of South Florida to complete a PhD in Civil Engineering and work at the School of Global Sustainability. Seneshaw completed his bachelor and masters studies in Ethiopia and Holland respectively, and began his doctoral work in England before coming to the University of South Florida in 2010. Upon arrival, he remembers feeling impressed with the University as it was a city within a city and the Tampa weather reminded him of his hometown in Ethiopia.

Dr. Seneshaw Tsegaye

While studying in England Seneshaw’s advisor, Dr. Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy accepted a position as Director of School of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida. Seneshaw was impressed with the vision and mission of the School of Global Sustainability and as a result, decided to attend USF to assist with the development of the School. In the last two years their work has paid off, the school has seen tremendous growth in its master’s program as well as developed several world-wide initiatives, like the Smart Pot Challenge. The early success of the school along with the generous endowment given by Drs. Kiran C. and Pallavi Patel have elevated the Patel School to become the Patel College of Global Sustainability.

Currently, Seneshaw is a senior research fellow for the Patel College. His research is focused on developing flexible and adaptive water systems that can cope with future change pressures and associated uncertainties, and integrated urban water management for African Cities.  He is also interested in seamlessly transitioning the existing cities to sustainable cities of the future. In Spring 2013, he graduated with a Doctoral degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources. In the future, Seneshaw plans to stay in the United States and continue working for the College of Global Sustainability to help make it a leading college in its field.

Seneshaw’s biggest inspiration is his father. His father has a first-hand understanding of the value of education and learning from others around the world as he taught for more than 30 years in Ethiopia. His father is a strong believer of continuing education. He is also inspired by his advisor, Dr. Vairavamoorthy, the current Dean of Patel College of Global Sustainability. Seneshaw admires his global perspective and vision of a new paradigm of urban water management for the cities of the future.

Seneshaw has had many memorable moments at USF. His favorite so far is being able to brainstorm and to envision the vision, mission and aid in the planning of the College of Global Sustainability with the research team of the college. “The possibility to develop such an academic unit right from its beginning is unique, and experiencing tremendous growth and huge attraction that the college gains from around the world is a great reward. Furthermore the international profile of the Patel College of Global Sustainability with researchers from Africa, Asia, Europe and America is great. Working within the Patel College feels a little bit like working with a mini United Nations with people from all around the globe,” he says.

Seneshaw spends the few free moments he has going to the beach, swimming, canoeing, and playing soccer.