Faculty Spotlight: Zahra Sadeghizadeh
This spotlight is part of our 2022 International Women's Day feature.
Describe your personal and professional background and current role in the College of Engineering.
I am Zahra Sadeghizadeh, Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. Before joining UC Davis, I was an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at Florida Polytechnic University. I have a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology and BSC and MSC in aerospace engineering from the Sharif University of Technology in Iran.
What led you to the engineering field?
I chose the engineering field because I enjoy math and physics, and I knew that I could use these tools to provide solutions to the emerging challenges in the world as an engineer. I love this fact about the engineering field as it promises infinite opportunities to impact society positively and make the world a better place for everyone!
Highlight your current research. What do you love about it, why are you excited and how do you stay motivated?
My research interests lie in pedagogical research, including teaching effectiveness and ABET assessment for the mechanical and aerospace engineering program. I believe promoting best practices in STEM education will enhance the program quality and help our graduates to achieve the required technical and professional skills necessary to succeed in their future profession as engineers. I love my research because it aligns with my passion for teaching and mentoring students. I am very excited to explore creative practices to improve teaching effectiveness in my classes. I like to improve students’ learning experiences and help them become lifelong learners in their professional careers. Interacting with amazing UC Davis students and sometimes learning from them is the best part of my work that keeps me motivated!
The 2022 International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. How do you support gender equity and #BreakTheBias in the engineering field?
As an international female faculty, I have experienced firsthand the challenges facing minorities, especially female students in STEM. I strive to be an inclusive instructor and make sure that everyone feels welcome in my classes. I work to mentor my female students and serve as a role model for them in professionalism and performance. I want to let them know that they can have a work-life balance while at the same time striving for excellence in the engineering field! I believe that in order to support gender equity, we need to inspire girls in STEM education during the K-12 school years. One of my priorities as a female educator is to be involved in STEM outreach programs for girls in middle school and high school and engage them with cohort peers, female role models and STEM programs.