Meet Paul, who joined UMD's engineering program through his work with the Australian Army.


Paul Nation

Year in Program

Fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Reliability Engineering with a focus on Test and Evaluation Program Design


Prof. Mohammad Modarres

Research Interests

Reliability Growth Planning, Projection and Tracking Models; Reliability Demonstration Methods; System Reliability Assessment; Bayesian Approaches to Reliability Estimation; Complex System Simulation.

Thesis Topic

A Bayesian approach to discrete-use system reliability growth planning under delayed or arbitrary corrective actions

What drew you to engineering?

After I completed high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I did know that I didn’t want to be in a classroom anymore, so I joined the Australian Army as an apprentice automotive tradesman. After a few years, it was suggested by one of my workshop managers that I would make a great engineer. My response? No, thank you, the classroom is not for me! About ten years later, I developed an interest in engineering design rather than solely maintenance and finally decided to study engineering. If only I had listened to others, I could be ten years ahead of where I am now!

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

I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to enter the ENRE Program at UMD by the Australian Army. I guess I didn’t really decide on UMD; that decision was made for me! I graduated in 2015 with an MS in Reliability Engineering. I decided in 2018 to follow up with the Ph.D. Program.

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

Reliability engineering influences everything we touch, from our small personal items to the cars and public transport systems we use every day. Reliability needs to be designed into these products, and it can’t be improved unless we change the design, the way we operate or the way we maintain the system in question. Testing alone doesn’t deliver a reliable end product.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I’m a 5 am riser and coffee addict. I love reading up on technology, sustainability, and new ways of doing things. I love travelling to remote places and tend to get worked up over politics.