Dr. Hoda Maraghy, a Woman of Order

By Safaa Nasser

Dr. Maraghy with Safaa Nasser at the Nile Association of Ontario celebration
Dr. Maraghy with Safaa Nasser at the Nile Association of Ontario celebration

It is not common to find many women who have a high impact in certain fields such as Manufacturing, Process, and Production Planning. Not because women are not capable of understanding such complicated disciplines, but because for a long time those disciplines were dominated by men. From Cairo University, the heart of science and advancement in the Middle East, graduated among the top of her class to come to the land of innovation. Dr. Maraghy’s journey is a long, interesting journey that leads to more than 380 publications and several books in very specialized and advanced fields like the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS).

Dr. Hoda Maraghy, the recipient of the Order of Ontario, a gentle woman that exudes confidence and determination met with Safaa Nasser, a senior reporter at Corporita Magazine and discussed success, career, family and mentoring.

Why did you choose to become an engineer?

I was naturally inclined to pursue mechanical engineering as a career since I was in primary school. I was curious about how things around me worked. I watched many programs that explained scientific concepts or told stories of successful women. Fortunately, I received lots of encouragement from my family, particularly my mother, along with the way.

What was it like being among the first female students in the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University? 

I recall being the first and only graduate student in Mechanical Engineering both as a Master and Ph.D. student having to compete with my male colleagues in every way. I was almost a novelty at that time. I remember one of my professors in one of his classes asked me if, for the purpose of this class, he can call me Gentleman, because he was not used to saying Ladies and Gentlemen in addressing the class – I told him No, and he got used to it.

When I was appointed an Assistant Professor in the same department upon obtaining my Ph.D., again I was the only woman faculty for some ten years. In my first class on solid mechanics to 3rd year, the all-male students were amused, they did not initially believe I was a Professor and tried to challenge me every step of the way. I was featured in the students’ magazine as wonder woman, but in the end, I got excellent teaching evaluations and they even commented that I was “the best looking Professor they ever had.” I also had a massive committee load as the only woman representative on many committees including being the Chair of the Women in Engineering Committee to support, encourage and recognize the women students’ population in the faculty.

Originally posted 2016-06-24 17:31:51.

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