Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day

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The Source
By: Lucy Frisch, Tue Jul 2 2019
Lucy Frisch

Author: Lucy Frisch

The Nature Research Communities are community blogs that provide a space for authors, editors, and the wider research community to share and discuss ideas, experiences, and news. We're rounding-up and sharing some of the latest Communities content for you every month.

In the first Nature Research Community Highlights, we're sharing how some of the Communities contributors on the Bioengineering and Device & Materials Engineering Communities recognised International Women in Engineering Day.

Women in engineering

Women in Engineering Day (23rd June) is an international awareness campaign to help raise the profile of women in engineering and emphasise the amazing career opportunities available in this exciting industry. It was first launched in 2014 by the Women’s Engineering Society, and this year the charity is also celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The theme for INWED this year is ‘Transform the Future’. Here’s what some of the contributors on the Nature Research Bioengineering and Device & Materials Engineering Communities chose to celebrate.

Nominated by her supervisor Jeff Tabor, graduate student Kathryn Brink shares her experience of the benefits of long-term STEM initiatives, not only for mentees but for mentors too!

Julie Audet, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Vice Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto, took the opportunity to recognise two key mentors that have inspired her throughout her academic career.     

In the Department of Engineering at Wake Forest University (North Carolina) 60% of its faculty members are female, and its student body is 42% women. Not many engineering departments can claim such representation. Professor Olga Pierrakos, the department’s Founding Chair, explains how creating a culture of inclusivity was key in building their success. 

Ngan Huang, Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University, recalls how compulsory physics and calculus courses in her first year as an undergraduate was a turning point in her career path. She also contemplates the future and offers some top advice for women (or anyone!) beginning a research career in engineering.

Shayla Nikzad and Xiwen Gong are both members of the Boa Lab at Stanford University, though their journeys getting there were rather different…

Combining her electrical engineering studies with a fascination of the human body, Kiana Aran pursued a PhD in biomedical engineering and is now Assistant Professor of Medical Diagnostics and Therapeutics at the Keck Graduate Institute. She kindly shares her story for International Women in Engineering Day.

Minh Le discusses the challenges that female scientists face in traditional Asian societies. Minh herself was born and raised in Vietnam but went abroad to develop her academic career, but frequently returns to mentor Vietnamese students and volunteer in wider educational activities and projects.

Who will be a genius engineer of the future? Absolutely anyone writes Amina Ann Qutub, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas.

A female mentor can serve as a great source of empowerment.

We couldn't agree more, and another shout-out to Shayla Nikzad and Xiwen Gong for that.


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Lucy Frisch

Author: Lucy Frisch

Lucy Frisch is a Content Marketing Manager on the Outreach and Open Research team, based in the New York office. She has a passion for storytelling and works to humanize the research published across Springer Nature with a focus on the researcher experience.