PhD 2016, Environmental Engineering
What was your inspiration for pursuing Engineering?
My scores and the enthusiasm I showed in solving mathematics, physics and chemistry problems were inspiring. My teachers in high school believed that I will succeed in any engineering, science or technology related field. In addition, I grew up in post-war times when my home country was tackling serious economic issues and where values such as serving the community to build a better future were highly praised at schools. By becoming an engineer, we could use our knowledge and problem solving strengths to help industry and therefore boost the economy of our country. Perhaps the path I have taken currently is not exactly projecting that teenage image of mine, but I believe the skills I acquired such as being quick on my feet to estimate the risk and complexity of a problem are always helpful in whatever endeavor I will take on.
Why is it important for women to be involved in Engineering?
I think the engineering community has had shortcomings in projecting what it is like to be an engineer. We need women and young girls to know that they can freely choose freely a career as an engineer without fear of failure in professional settings or of receiving distasteful remarks from people in industry and even from their families. We need them to know that they can be as successful and involved in engineering as a man can be. Having more female engineers involved in industry means having more role models who can transmit a reliable image of a woman engineer to young girls.
Why did you choose McGill?
McGill was recommended by my previous supervisor at Sharif University of Technology in Iran where I did a bachelor’s in chemical engineering. He referred to McGill as one of the leading universities in research. I started looking for research supervisors at McGill and the research in Environmental Engineering in the Civil Engineering department caught my attention. Professor Ghoshal has brought together a very keen group of scientists to investigate emerging environmental contaminants called engineered metal nanoparticles. After a few discussions with him and reviewing some articles in this field, I found myself very enthusiastic to learn more and do research on this topic. I applied to McGill and was awarded a MEDA scholarship for 3 years to pursue a PhD in Engineering.
Anything else to add?
At McGill I had the chance to build up my public speaking and leadership skills which I find invaluable for a woman in engineering to acquire. I have been actively involved in the graduate student council of our department (CEGSS) for the past three years. In the leadership roles and volunteer activities I have taken on, I learnt a lot about the joy of team work, team accomplishment, and effective leadership. McGill provides many opportunities for graduate students to practice their leadership skills and grow as a leader. I highly recommend that women in postgraduate engineering programs at McGill pursue such leadership activities along with intense research, particularly if they are interested in pursuing leadership roles later on in their careers.