Making safety seen on International Women in Engineering Day

Jun 23rd, 2023

By Jackey Locke

Today marks the 10th annual International Women in Engineering Day.

It is a day designated by the Women’s Engineering Society to celebrate, and raise the profile of, women in engineering and to highlight the important career opportunities the industry provides to women and girls in the world of engineering.

The theme for this year is Make safety seen.

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science asked some of Memorial’s women engineers how they help to make safety seen.

Dr. Octavia A. Dobre is the interim dean and a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. 

“Use robotics/cobotics, along with AI, control and wireless communications in environments hazardous for humans to improve safety and health.”

Dr. Helen Zhang is a professor, Department of Civil Engineering, and Canada Research Chair Tier 2.

“Environmental engineers make water safe and clear to drink, soil safe and healthy to grow, and air safe and clean to breathe. We are making environmental safety seen by our communities.”

Tina Putt is an academic staff member in the faculty's Engineering Co-operative Education Office.

“Planning, design, operations…public safety is at the forefront of everything an engineer does.”

Dr. Heather Peng is an associate professor in the Department of Ocean and Naval Architectural Engineering and director of first-year engineering.

“A ship’s design must consider safety. Designing more energy-efficient vessels and reducing underwater noise from propellers will lead to safer operations, fuel and noise reduction, allowing more comfort for those on board the vessels and as well as for marine life.”

Dr. Lesley James is a professor in the Department of Process Engineering and Dr. Mahsan Basafa is a research engineer with the Hibernia Research Group.

“Safety in the Hibernia Research Group is paramount. Our daily work involves handling high pressure and high temperature flammable gases and liquids, making safety critical. We believe in a collaborative approach to safety, involving the entire team in laboratory safety checks. We even implemented a visual dashboard, developed by a co-op student, to ensure that safety information is easily accessible for everyone. Together, we strive to make safety seen and prioritize the well-being of our team and our research endeavours.”


Dr. Maha Bhouri is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering.

Dr. Bhouri is inspired by the words of Leah Busque, an American entrepreneur, who said, "I've never thought of myself as a female engineer or founder or a woman in tech. I just think of myself as someone who's passionate."

To see Memorial’s women engineers at work in a series of videos, visit the Faculty of Engineering and Applied website.