Hoda ElMaraghyHoda ElMaraghy is shown here in the iFactory in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Engineering prof earns research ambassador award

A University of Windsor professor has been recognized as a national engineering ambassador for being a pioneering leader in her field.

Hoda ElMaraghy was recently named the 2014 Partners in Research Engineering Ambassador.

A registered Canadian charity since 1988, Partners in Research recognizes exceptional Canadian research, and the communication of it to the lay community. Besides her outreach initiatives, Dr. ElMaraghy was recognized for her role as a leading woman in the field of engineering.

“Young women need role models, they need mentoring and support,” said ElMaraghy, who set up a scholarship in her name several years ago to encourage women to pursue an education and career in engineering. “The best thing we can do is to reach out to young people and get them thinking about their future and the possibilities that an engineering education offers as early as possible.”

ElMaraghy joined the university in 1994 to become the first female dean of an engineering faculty in Canada, a fact that wasn’t lost on those who supported her nomination. Mamdouh Shoukri, president of York University, worked with ElMaraghy at McMaster University and called her appointment as dean “a step forward for all women in our field” in a letter of support he wrote on her behalf.

“Dr. ElMaraghy has provided a visible and much-needed role model for others, making her a true ambassador for engineering,” he said.

A Canada Research Chair in Manufacturing Systems since 2002, ElMaraghy is a professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering and the founding director of the university’s Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Centre, which is home to the iDesign studio and iFactory, a reconfigurable manufacturing assembly system. The only one of its kind in North America, the ‘factory in a lab’ provides experiential learning for students as well as a test bed for advanced research results in modern manufacturing systems.

UWindsor engineering dean Mehrdad Saif said he was thrilled that ElMaraghy won the award.

“Whether consulting for the government on how to develop a strategic roadmap for Canadian manufacturing, or holding an open house in her lab for industry partners and the general public, Dr. ElMaraghy goes out of her way to make her research accessible to everyone,” Dr. Saif said.

ElMaraghy was nominated by Michael Siu, the university’s vice-president of research and innovation, who said he couldn’t think of a more appropriate person to be named an ambassador for her discipline.

“She does a tremendous amount of outreach to help people better understand the goals and applications of her work,” Dr. Siu said. “She truly is a deserving candidate for this prestigious award.”

ElMaraghy will receive the award at a dinner in Ottawa on May 23.