Meet Joseph who loves physics and math and is an orchestral musician

Name: Joseph O’Leary
Year in Program: Second year Ph.D
Advisor: Dr. Yunfei Zhao

Research interests: Dynamic Probabilistic Risk Assessment, Nuclear Energy, Computational Models for Reliability Engineering

Dissertation Topic: Dynamic probabilistic risk assessment of nuclear reactors, machine learning, and fault diagnosis models

What drew you to engineering?

I have been fascinated with physics as long as I can remember, and being the son of two mathematicians, math has been an interest of mine for even longer. Engineering is a place where I can do both physics and math and do some good.

What made you choose UMD and the ENRE Program?

Initially I chose UMD mechanical engineering for my bachelor’s degree because it is relatively close to home and has an excellent program. I decided to stay after having taken a reliability engineering class as an undergraduate and finding out that I could combine computational modeling with nuclear engineering, two of my favorite components of engineering, in the ENRE program and specifically in Dr. Zhao’s lab.

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

We know that engineering failures are both inevitable and dangerous. Reliability engineers develop tools to both limit the likelihood, scope, and consequences of these failures, so if a reliability engineer says something is a bad idea, listen to them.

A fun fact about you? (Not related to engineering!)

I am an orchestral musician and I have had the opportunity to play with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and several of the orchestras on campus. I play a variety of instruments, but primarily oboe. I almost did a double major in mechanical engineering and oboe as an undergraduate.