International Women's Day 2014

By occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2014), HEEAP would like to congratulate and celebrate all women, especially our female participants throughout the years. Congratulations and thank you for all you do to make this world a better place! Below are two exemplary women engineers that have been part of our training cohorts at ASU.


Phan Hong Phuong
HEEAP University cohort 2010 
VEF Scholar 2013-2014

84_Tran-Thi-My-Dung-(CTU).jpgIn the summer 2010, I was one of the lucky Vietnamese faculty who came to ASU to attend the HEEAP training course. During this period, I had chance to visit Professor Constantine Balanis’ laboratory with perfect facilities for research in my area - the field of Electromagnetics and Antenna Design. I met two of his Ph.D. students who were working there when I visited, and both of them were women! At that time, I only could wish myself to have an opportunity to work with them.
It is great to be a VEF visiting scholar at ASU. Now I am working with Professor Constantine Balanis, a well-known scientist who has written two famous books that are being used as textbooks on Antenna Theory at many universities in the world. Such an opportunity I could see only in my dream! Alix, one of two women I met three years ago has just defended her thesis and now, there are no more female Ph.D. students in the lab. However, I still see many other female faculty here, at least much more than that at our School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology in Vietnam.
Dr. Constantine Balanis helps me a lot in my research, even corrects every grammatical or spelling mistake in my research papers even though he is very busy with his research group.  I also have significant help from Dr. James Aberle who always gives valuable suggestions in every detail of my project. Dr. Balanis’ Ph.D. students come from different countries – Lybia, India, Iran, China, they are smart and so friendly that I feel quite comfortable in this international working environment. I attend several ASU courses in my field and find out that the professors whom I know here such as Dr. C. Balanis, Dr. J. Aberle are really brilliant educators. With their professional experience in industry and active instructional methods, plus their nice teaching manner, they inspire me to get more knowledge in this difficult field - Electromagnetics. I have never enjoyed any engineering class so much before!

In the second semester, I have a wonderful chance to gain my experience in teaching. Having the recommendation from my ASU professors, the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, ASU had me to teach an undergraduate class. Honestly, at the beginning I felt a bit scared. I had passed all my undergraduate as well as graduate years studying in Kiev, Ukraine, certainly not an English speaking country, so I think my English cannot be as good as of my colleagues who have studied in the US, Australia, or even France. What I was scared of is I might not understand questions from my US students. But finally, realizing that this chance may come only once in my life, and there is no better way of practicing as taking part in the process, I decided to take the class. It seemed to me that it was even unexpected for the US students to see that their professor was a woman! But everything is going very well, smoothly with my teaching now. There is not only good feedback from some students that makes me happy, but also some very severe comments that help me correct any mistakes I have made to improve myself and to provide the best service for my students – the first-class clients of an educational system. This experience is invaluable for me, now I am quite confident to say that I am professionally refreshed.

There are usually many opinions saying that Engineering is just for men’s brains as men have better health, they are more capable to critical thinking, logical analysis of a problem, etc. Maybe they are right, there are plenty of other things more interesting and suitable for women than Engineering, but the thing I would emphasize here is the passion for knowledge in some specific areas. If you have that passion for Engineering plus your good background and a little bit capability gifted by God, you can learn very fast and have great success whether you are a man or a woman. And how can you get that passion? My answer is, if you have an opportunity to work at a place with all facilities for research and meet people who can inspire you as I do at ASU. 

Learn more about the VEF Scholarship program HERE.

Tran Thi My Dung
HEEAP University Cohort 2013

84_Tucson_Jan2014.jpgThere is a great change in my mind, about the role of women in engineering fields, when I took part in the HEEAP workshop at Arizona State University in 2013. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and practice effective presentation skills in English, curriculum design following the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) standards and engagement students learning methods. The most important thing that I have realized since the workshop is the role of women in engineering. Women in engineering can do good as well as men in technical fields. In team working, women not only support good ideas but also help the group have a good connection and make decisions. In addition, women can help other members in designing the products with small and aesthetic details. Since coming back to Vietnam, I have changed my teaching methodologies by applying the skills that I had the benefit of valuable experiences from the HEEAP program. I and HEEAP alumni have organized a workshop about redesign curriculums following ABET standards, in order to spread out to other faculty members. I currently enjoy teaching classes and feel more confident in my role as a female faculty member in engineering. I hope every woman engineering lecturer will be a good mirror for students, especially for female engineering students to follow. Furthermore, this can help improve the number of female students in technical fields.