Donor Spotlight: Abdullah Weiss '18

by Elaine Barnes, Office of Alumni Services & Giving

Can you tell us about yourself - year you graduated, major, your career?

My name is Abdullah Weiss, and I graduated from TAMUK in 2018 with my BS in Mechanical Engineering and minors in Nuclear Engineering and Mathematics.


While pursuing my degree in Kingsville, I had the opportunity to work at the NIST Center for Neutron Research on multiple projects including Compton-suppressed gamma spectroscopy of spent fuel, the development of a fast point reactor kinetics solver, and the development of a quasi-realtime predictive maintenance code for the secondary pumps of the National Bureau of Standards Reactor.


I was also fortunate enough to go to technical and professional conferences, mainly those of the American Nuclear Society, where I would present a conference paper (or 2) and connect and learn from many other academics and professionals.


I am currently in my 3rd year as a PhD candidate in nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University. Here I work under the supervision of Dr. Mark Kimber in the Thermal Hydraulics Verification & Validation laboratory on a variety of projects including thermal-hydraulic analyses for the Versatile Test Reactor rabbit system and experimental studies of multi-regime mixing and turbulent jet impingement.

I also work on multiple computational fluid dynamics (CFD) projects, one of which will benchmark fluid dynamics simulation capabilities of a specific module within a relatively young Multiphysics code package called MOOSE. There has been a slew of journal papers coming out of our lab recently, and my name is on some of them (sometimes it’s the first name on there). There are more papers to come, but for now I invite you to look me or Dr. Kimber up on google scholar and browse our library.

I am also currently an intern in the fuel development, performance and qualification group at Idaho National Laboratory, where I have been developing tools for and performing thermal-hydraulics and neutronics analyses for the design and optimization of high-throughput irradiation vehicles, primarily for the Advanced Test Reactor. There is an external report of a computational tool that I developed that will hopefully be publicly available soon (other reports and papers may be on the way as well).


What inspires you to give back to Texas A&M University-Kingsville? Is there a specific program you give to/are most passionate about?

Prior to moving to Kingsville, I had the chance to meet with and talk with Dr. Yousri Elkassabgi from the mechanical engineering department at TAMUK, and in one sitting he managed to pique my interest in not only thermal-fluids engineering, but also (unexpectedly) the field of nuclear engineering.

Till this day, I don’t even know if I would’ve studied engineering or decided to come and stay in TAMUK if it wasn’t for my conversations with Dr. Elkassabgi. Professors like him and Dr. Xue Yang (to name a few) truly gave me insights and opportunities to explore my engineering and scientific interests, and they helped me find my place as a researcher in nuclear engineering.

That is why I am passionate about TAMUK’s college of engineering, and coupled with the valuable experiences, memories, and friends that I made throughout my journey at TAMUK, that is why I look forward to giving back whenever I can.


What is the most rewarding aspect of being a donor to the university? Would you encourage your fellow Javelinas to give back, as well?

It is most rewarding when I hear about new programs, projects and research (particularly ones involving students) coming out of TAMUK. I want to help the university hone its specialties, so if I can hear about one student with a crazy senior design project, or with a great conference presentation or a journal publication, I feel fantastic for having contributed to 0.000001% of the costs towards helping a student make worthwhile accomplishments.

It makes me proud and happy to call Texas A&M University-Kingsville my Alma mater. For me, that is enough, and I hope my fellow Javelinas feel the same way.

TAMUK, although a small school with little resources compared to what I’m seeing now in College Station, is truly a hidden gem if you take the time to explore its walls and history, get to know its welcoming and knowledgeable students, staff, and faculty.

I am inspired to give back by remembering the skills and knowledge I gained at TAMUK, but certainly I am more inspired by all the precious experiences, memories and friends I made along my journey there.

If I can help one student gain the knowledge I did or make the memories I made while there, then it would be well worth the money I give back to TAMUK. Most importantly, if I can help expand, progress, or improve our TAMUK programs, it makes it extremely rewarding to give back.

I look forward to seeing what the Javelinas can do in the future, and I hope they are as passionate as I am to help TAMUK grow and prosper.