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SFU's mechatronic program graduates first female students

Cecilien Luo (right) and Parisa  Khorsand may be the first female graduates of SFU Surrey’s Mechatronic Systems Engineering program. -
Cecilien Luo (right) and Parisa  Khorsand may be the first female graduates of SFU Surrey’s Mechatronic Systems Engineering program.
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Cecilien Luo and Parisa  Khorsand may be the first female graduates of SFU Surrey’s Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) program but they certainly won’t be the last.

Following their footsteps are another 41 young women – about 10 per cent of program’s total – who have since enrolled in the popular undergraduate program, which launched in 2007.

Both grads would like to see more women apply their skills in the field.

“So much about engineering focuses on it being a male-dominant area of study,” says Luo, who came to SFU from China, where she says women engineers are plentiful. She began her studies in business at SFU before being attracted to the MSE program.

Luo has worked as a co-op student for Telus, learning technical as well as character-building skills during her one-year term. She is currently working at Netricom, a design contractor for Telus.Her father is an engineer and she grew up with an avid interest in discovering how things work.

Khorsand, whose family moved between Iran and Vancouver while she was growing up, was encouraged by family to pursue the field and follow her passion for math and physics.

“I knew I would want to pursue engineering, particularly the electrical and mechanical aspects, it’s a field that has always made sense to me,” says Khorsand, whose father is an architect. Many of her relatives are engineers.

“Engineering is a good field for women and in other countries there are a lot of female engineers,” says Khorsand, who will continue with graduate studies in the U.S. “It is something that more young women should consider.”

While at SFU Khorsand did a co-op work term at RIM and was also involved in the Entrepreneurship@SFU program. For her capstone project, Khorsand and her peers created a prototype of a motorcycle visor that provided a “head’s up” display, providing details on speed, navigational aid and notices of calls and text messages, designed to aid the motorcyclist while driving.

The MSE program graduated its first students last fall. In all, 25 MSE students are graduating this term, bringing the total of grads to 52.

One of SFU Surrey’s most popular programs, MSE integrates mechanical, electrical and software engineering to address the growing demand for efficiency in the high-tech world.

For more information, visit http://fas.sfu.ca/fas/programs/engineering/mechatronics/

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