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Celebrating women in engineering: An interview with Maryam Baniasadi

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Published on Tuesday, 22 June 2021

23 June marks the International Women in Engineering Day. At the University of Luxembourg, we celebrate the work and achievements of women engineers.

Dr Maryam Baniasadi grew up in a middle-class family in Kerman, a city in the south of Iran. Since her childhood, she had the dream of continuing her studies to acquire a high level of education. In 2014 she started as a doctoral candidate in the field of industrial engineering with the focus on computer-aided mathematical modeling at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Luxembourg. She graduated in 2018. Today, she works as a process engineer at Paul Wurth in Luxembourg.

In an interview, Maryam Baniasadi talks about why she decided to become an engineer, her current role as process engineer and which challenges women still face in the world of engineering.

When and why did you decide to become an engineer?

I was always good at math and had high grades in calculation courses. I was also very keen to dismantle and assemble electrical or mechanical devices at home to figure out how they work. Therefore, I was quite sure about becoming an engineer, although I was undecided about which field and specialisation to choose. When I was in high school, I visited a cement production plant. I still believe that this was an inspiring moment for me. Ever since I had decided to learn more about chemical/industrial engineering. Today, I am happy that I found my way at the right time.

You now work at Paul Wurth, what is your role specifically?

Currently, I am working as a process engineer in the process and technology department. I deal with multiple tasks, which can be categorised into two types. On the one hand, I need to perform mass and energy balance calculations, prepare specifications and prepare answers to inquiries. On the other hand, I need to be very innovative and develop new ideas to create advanced products. Most of the ideas are related to the creation of robust mathematical and numerical models that can be integrated into our digitalisation platforms. I am active in several Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) projects. Our company works in close collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, where I am also giving a lecture on the topic of “Energetics of the Blast Furnace”.

What does a typical day in your job involve?

The thing I like a lot about my work is that each day is different from the other. Any question related to processes will end up in our office. It might be calculation, evaluation, recommendation and/or simulation of a particular inquiry. The question may be  internal requests from colleagues or external requests from customers. Therefore, a typical day is a mix of office work, meetings, calculation and of course coffee breaks.

What challenges do women face in the engineering professions/academia?

In the modern world we are living in, in which women lead countries and are present in all areas, I do not see any obstacle that can stop me from reaching my dreams. However, there is still some small discrimination and prejudices that woman cannot perform hard, physical work the same as men. Also, as a woman in the industry, finding the right work-life balance is not that easy. Some roles require much traveling and late hours working especially if you are working at the international level. Therefore, it is highly admiring if one could find the right balance of being a good mother, a beloved wife and a hardworking colleague.

What do you think can be done to inspire more girls to enter the engineering field from a young age?

In my opinion we, women should have confidence in our capabilities and talents. We should believe that there is no difference between men and women. If you are interested in industrial engineering, do not underestimate your abilities and follow your dreams.

 

Study programmes in Engineering at the University of Luxembourg