Student Spotlight: Jonathan DeJesus Segarra

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Jonathan DeJesus Segarra

Year in Program



Dr. Michelle Bensi and Dr. Mohammad Modarres

Research Interests

Risk assessment of nuclear applications

Dissertation Topic

Seismic risk assessment for multi-unit nuclear power plants

What drew you to engineering?

I really liked chemistry in high school and thought that the best way to apply it was to study chemical engineering. What kept me in engineering was the opportunity to solve problems, and not just in chemistry, but in other disciplines as well, which drew me to into nuclear, reliability, and civil engineering. Engineering is a way to practice and apply life-long learning.

What made you decided to come to UMD and the ENRE Program?

I decided to attend UMD and the Reliability Engineering Program for two reasons. First, I already live in the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) for work reasons, which made attending classes and meeting faculty convenient. The Reliability Engineering Program has multiple choices to attend class: on-campus, remote, and online. I attended class on-campus in College Park and remote at the Universities at Shady Grove (there are several other sites throughout Maryland). Second, there are several alumni of the Reliability Engineering Program where I work and all of them highly recommended the program. Now that I have been several years into the program, I can confirm the robustness of the program. 

What do you want people to know about Reliability Engineering that they may not know?

"[T]hat they may not know..." That is tough to answer, but I would say that the program is always looking at ways to innovate. For example, there is a strong emphasis on prognostics, which means trying to predict how much "life" a system or component has left and that way a system operator does not need to "wait" for a component to fail in order to replace it. Another example is the emphasis on ways to improve realism in risk assessments and develop the mathematical methods to implement those improvements.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I enjoy running with my dog (even though he stops a lot to sniff around and do other stuff...). I recently ran my first half marathon (without the dog) and I intend to run a marathon. Since training for a marathon takes a lot of time (and I need to finish my PhD), I decided to try to improve my running pace and my dog is an outstanding pacesetter. I also enjoy playing Just Dance with my kids and even by myself when they don't want to play. It is a great and fun workout, and everyone should try it!

Published December 2, 2019