New Year, New Lab, New Dad

Kent State computer science professor experiences a year of firsts as he navigates his new role

Kent State Today will be following a group of Golden Flashes for the 2023-'24 academic year chronicling their efforts and successes during the fall and spring semesters. The group includes students, faculty and administrators who are at different places on their Kent State University journeys.  

The 2023-24 academic year has been a life-changing one for Raiful Hasan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences, who embarked on his first faculty position at Kent State last semester.

Year with a Flash Graphic

Since arriving in August, Hasan has set up his research lab, begun teaching classes and is experiencing his first northern winter.

But perhaps the biggest change of all came on Dec. 13, 2023, when Hasan and his wife, Taiaba Afrin, Ph.D., welcomed their first child, a son they named Rawad Azlan Hasan. Rawad arrived a few weeks earlier than expected and is doing well.

New fatherhood also has given Hasan a broader perspective on his students, particularly the research team he has assembled, which includes four undergraduates and three graduate students, two of whom studying at other universities. Hasan also is currently collaborating with the faculty members at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Syracuse University, Tennessee Tech University and Towson University on the research he's conducting.  

At Kent State, undergraduate students have numerous opportunities to take on research of all varieties, and students are encouraged not to wait until they are seniors or graduate-level students to get involved.  


Assistant Professor Raiful Hasan, with his wife Taiaba Afrin and infant son Rawad.
Raiful Hasan with wife Taiaba Afrin and son Rawad Azlan.

“I’m feeling like they too, are my babies,” Hasan said of the group of students who are taking part in his research. “I’m taking care of them the way I am taking care of my baby but from a research perspective. I’m really grateful they chose to research with me, especially the freshmen students. They are really great.”

He is delighted that several freshmen are among the undergraduates.

“They are learning research techniques, and they also are learning classical computer science, so it’s not easy for them to get involved with research at the same time in their freshman year. But they are doing well and I’m pretty hopeful that at the end of their undergraduate years they will be exceptionally skilled researchers,” he said.

Hasan’s team is looking at the many ways people use app technology, through their smartphones, watches or glasses, to look for ways it can be repurposed and streamlined to aid people in a variety of ways.  

Specifically, they are researching ways that clothing can be embedded with technology to connect with the wearer intuitively to offer protection for medical conditions, or even to improve pedestrian safety for young children and adults.

His first academic year has been fulfilling on many levels. He has experienced the joy of finding that some of his students are far more advanced than he expected, knowing material that has not even been covered yet.

He also has enjoyed getting to know other professors and credits the university’s free weekly meal program for faculty and staff for helping to facilitate community building.

“This is a very good opportunity to socialize with faculty and other colleagues and mentor students,” he said of the dining hall experience.

He is part of a small group of faculty and graduate students who enjoyed their lunches so well that they now meet off-campus every few weeks to get together to increase their collaboration and get to know each other better.

“Everyone is so busy, so we don’t have much time to socialize,” he said, adding that the free lunch swipe in the dining halls helped to facilitate the meetups.

Hasan has begun a similar gathering off campus with his student researchers to get to know them better and allow them time outside of his lab to better understand each other and their ways of thinking.

“Young people have fresh minds and maybe they’re thinking in a way that I’m not considering,” he said. “So, it’s always better to understand them.”

Hasan said he believes some of the best research ideas come when the mind is resting and thinking about ideas other than research.

Hasan is also happy to have survived most of his first northern winter unscathed. A native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Hasan studied at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for his doctorate and has never lived in a northern climate.  

This year, Ohio has enjoyed an unseasonably warm winter with lower-than-normal snowfall.

“My colleagues and students told me that it could be 3 feet of snow, but fortunately, it was not that harsh, it was just perfect,” Hasan said. 

POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2024 03:54 PM
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2024 04:21 PM
Lisa Abraham
Lisa Abraham and Raiful Hasan