In celebration of the International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), Oryx Universal College invited a panel of qualified and accomplished female engineers to discuss about their experience and achievements over the course of their careers in the field. Discussing various points, they walked the audience through their story and what inspired them to contribute to an industry thriving on continuous excellence, progression and innovation.
The event was hosted by the OUC Dean of Academic Affairs, Professor Rafid AlKhaddar. He was the former Director of School of Engineering and Built Environment at Liverpool John Moores University. The other participants included Eng. Mai Hamad Fatais, Director of Facilities and General Services at Qatar University, Dr Denise Lee, Programme Leader at Liverpool John Moores University (UK), and Eng. Jennifer Stables, Country Representative and Chair Senior Project Manager, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Qatar.
From their inspiration to the challenges of working in an industry as vast as engineering, the women explained what it means to be an engineer while giving tips on how anyone interested can pursue a career in the field or explore specialist areas to further develop in. They advised individuals to get involved in the society more actively through networking opportunities created by organisations like ICE and engage in online academic activities. These would allow scope for learning things beyond the walls of a classroom. Dr Lee stated that it is useful to indulge in summer placements, volunteering and speaking to companies to grasp a better idea of what engineering entails and whether one is interested in a particular area.
Setting an example for many to follow and as one of the first Qatari females to graduate as an Electrical Engineer from Qatar University, Eng. Fatais, expressed her motivation towards fulfilling the Qatar National Vision 2030. She described her experience of working within the industry as an Electrical Engineer during the early phase of her career. She has made an impact on transforming the perception about female Qataris in the profession, consequently becoming a role model for many other females seeking a career in engineering within the region.
The engineers highlighted the importance of soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking that would allow anyone to initiate their academic and professional journey in the field. Eng. Stables explained that many of these imperative skills can be instilled through opportunities which allow one to take leadership positions in the industry and therefore it becomes essential to network within the society through active involvement. Emphasising on the core skills needed by engineers, Dr Lee added that making most of the opportunities available, working hard and never being afraid to take a leap is at the heart of the profession.
Regarding the common misconceptions in the industry, Eng. Fatais stated that ‘engineering is not all about maths and physics, its more about creativity and designing’. Defying the pre-existing notion of engineering being a male dominant field, all the women agreed that engineering provides equal opportunities for all, allowing space for creativity, exposure and the freedom to bring life to ideas.
Stepping into engineering requires individuals to have the courage, confidence and a support system for further growth and success. It requires true dedication towards research and experimentation in order to communicate ideas which is what these women have proved. Setting a benchmark for females in engineering within the private education industry domain, Oryx Universal College aims to initiate a student chapter in collaboration with Institution of Civil Engineers.