Meet Mahsa Bataghva Shahbaz, IEEE WIE Member
Profession: Researcher at Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada
IEEE MGA WIE Committee member (2019)
IEEE WIE Committee member Region 7 (2020)
IEEE WIE Affinity Group Chair, London Section, Canada
How did you first get involved in IEEE Women in Engineering?
I have been an active volunteer in the IEEE student branch during my undergraduate studies. However, starting my graduate studies in Electrical Engineering Program, I first heard about IEEE Women in Engineering through one of their technical events. Fort the first time, I noticed that there is an active organization advocating for women in science and leadership roles and volunteers that work tirelessly to encourage women in the engineering field and raise awareness about the importance of gender equality in science fields. Having the passion to promote women in the STEM field, being inspired by IEEE WIE vision and mission and after learning about the impact of all their efforts, I got motivated to join the IEEE London Section WIE Affinity Group in 2016 and this was the start of my voluntary journey in this impactful organization.
Why did you decide to become a WIE member?
One of the key factors that motivated me to become part of this big supportive community was to see that the IEEE WIE mission and vision are pretty much aligned with mine. I was very interested in learning from my fellow women engineers and leaders and their success stories Moreover, studying in an electrical engineering discipline, one of the most under-represented science fields, I felt the need to empower women and wanted to contribute in supporting women to pursue a career in engineering fields and reach their full potential.
What do you wish other people knew about IEEE WIE?
All the members, volunteers, and leaders of this group envision an equal environment for men and women to work collectively to solve problems for the benefit of humanity and work towards it. IEEE WIE not only advocates women to hold leadership roles and pursue their career in engineering disciplines but also facilitate the recruitment and retention of women in technical fields. All the events and workshops, regional summits, annual conferences as well as webinars, sharing success stories and many other activities that IEEE WIE does is to encourage women to promote their skills, gain self confidence, gain career progress and dream big! One of the important things I wish people know is that IEEE WIE is not an organization just for women. Many male fellows work hard to promote women in engineering.
What is it like to be an IEEE WIE Volunteer, and what do you enjoy about it?
Throughout my voluntary journey at IEEE WIE, I was very fortunate to work at a local, regional, and global level and collaborate with exceptionally talented women leaders and scientists around the world. One of the unique aspects of volunteering for IEEE WIE is that it provides you with the opportunity to bring your creative ideas to better support members. Volunteering for IEEE WIE, you will always be surrounded by positive and supportive teams and individuals working in this organization. From my personal experience, volunteering for IEEE WIE and being an active IEEE WIE member provided me with an immense opportunity to learn from exceptional women leaders and fellow, build self-confidence, collaborate with experts and to contribute to this community.
IEEE WIE creates a friendly environment for all its volunteers and members to grow and help others to grow. I have enjoyed every part of my involvement with IEEE WIE. To name a few, last year, we organized two international webinars and invited two of the most successful women leaders to share their success stories. Getting lots of positive energy and interests from the audience around the world drove me to work more and motivated me to put more effort into reaching our goal. Moreover, I particularly enjoyed representing women in engineering in the mixer night at the IEEE WIE R7 summit as one of the panelists. Sharing my thoughts, experience, and expertise was a unique experience that I might not have if I weren’t dedicated to volunteering for IEEE WIE.
Why do you feel it is important for women to enter into the field of engineering?
Like any other discipline, diversity and inclusion are the keys to success in the engineering field. Empowering women in STEM and specifically engineering field can lead to a more creative, innovative, and inspirational environment. The collaboration of women and men collectively leads to having a more diverse mindset to solve problems and because women and men have their unique skillsets that complement one another, their collaborative work would lead to success.