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AUS celebrates International Women in Engineering Day
Students and faculty members at American University of Sharjah (AUS) celebrated International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, with a series of events that included a keynote address, panel discussions involving academics and students, and competitions.
“International Women in Engineering Day is a global event that celebrates the role of women in engineering and highlights their achievements and contributions to society,” said Dr. Vian Ahmed, Professor in Industrial Engineering, and Director of Alternative Delivery Graduate Education at the AUS College of Engineering (CEN).
“It is our role as educators to encourage and support the education and careers of women in STEM fields. Unfortunately, despite the desperate need of the industry for graduates with experience and skills, and the diversity and talents that women can bring to the workplace, women remain under-represented within the engineering disciplines,” said Dr. Ahmed.
“It is, therefore, incumbent upon educational institutions to attract and inspire girls from schools to join the various engineering disciplines offered at university. Once they are here, we need to adjust our education practices to build their confidence, retain them and ensure their progress. We need to be mindful that female students get equal opportunities inside the classroom. We also need to invest in women leadership. Women leaders inspire other women to join the discipline,” she said.
The day’s events included a keynote on women empowerment by Dr. Ahmed; a panel discussion comprising four women graduate students currently pursuing their doctoral degrees at CEN; a panel of women engineering faculty members who spoke about their experience in engineering and academia; as well as multiple online fun activities organized by the CEN Women in Engineering Club, IEEE EMBS, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) Club, senior design project champions and undergraduate talents.
Speaking about her experience, Sara Saboor, a fourth-year PhD candidate in Engineering Systems Management who was a participant in the panel discussion comprising women doctoral candidates, said that she is looking forward to graduating so that she can make a difference in her field of study.
“My main concern before joining was that the job market in my specialization is male-dominated. However, things are changing now. Studying engineering was different 10 years ago, but today I see a great number of women joining engineering programs. I also don’t believe there are gender-specific fields. If you work hard and apply yourself, you can succeed,” Saboor said.
Taima Khairallah Al Hazaimeh, a chemical engineering major and the next president of the AICHE Club at AUS, who was present during the celebrations, said:
“I like these events because they show that women have the ability to become whatever they want to become without any hesitation or fear of what society might say. I choose engineering because I am a critical thinker and a problem solver. This field is an extremely challenging field and I live for challenges,” she said.
The AUS College of Engineering is committed to providing an encouraging and supportive environment for women, who are well represented in all the majors offered by the college at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In fact, there are more women currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at CEN than men. At the master’s and PhD level, women also outnumber men in the computer engineering and the engineering systems management programs.
For more information on College of Engineering at AUS, visit www.aus.edu/cen.