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Sara Amani receiving an award
An accomplishment that led Sara Amani to receive this award was being selected to participate in a women empowerment conference hosted by the United Nations and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. | Image: Courtesy of Sara Amani

Women are leaving footprints throughout the world of science and engineering. Examples range from Katherine Johnson — an influential African American scientist at NASA, to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper — a computer scientist who created the first programming language to use English words. Despite their contributions, women are rarely provided the same resources or opportunities available in these male-dominated fields. 

Sara Amani, a Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering student at Texas A&M University, recently received the Women's Progress Award as part of the Accountability, Climate and Equity (ACE) Awards. Amani earned this honor for the numerous and impactful changes she made during her time enrolled at Texas A&M University at Qatar to help women, especially those in science and engineering, feel empowered, seen and heard.

Sara Amani at a Society of Women Engineers table at an event
Amani noticed the Society of Women Engineers at Texas A&M at Qatar was completely inactive and decided to change this organization, quickly becoming president. | Image: Courtesy of Sara Amani

"Everyone should support women in engineering," said Amani. "Women in engineering are incredibly talented, and I feel like sometimes they're not taken seriously. There is a stigma that tells women they don't belong in STEM, and I strive to reverse that belief. My goal is to help establish women's credibility in these fields."

Amani began her journey as a freshman who noticed the completely inactive state of the Society of Women Engineers on the Texas A&M at Qatar campus. With almost no one signed up at the time, she made it her mission to grow the organization. 

"The engineering statistics at (Texas A&M at Qatar) are 50/50 male to female, which is unique,” she said. “Having many women on campus pushed me to make the most out of this organization."  

After becoming president, she increased enrollment and implemented events and initiatives that are ongoing to this day. One of her most profound accomplishments is creating Think Pink — an event occurring in October that brings awareness to breast cancer.

Sara Amani and group of friends at Think Pink event
Amani was instrumental in creating the annual Think Pink event, which brings awareness to breast cancer. | Image: Courtesy of Sara Amani

"Think Pink is an event for everyone on campus to wear pink," said Amani. "I collaborated with the Qatar Cancer Society, so they would come to our campus and share information about breast cancer symptoms, how women can do breast exams for themselves and other information. We had fun games and pink-themed catering from a local coffee shop. The proceeds from the coffee shop’s earnings and extra money collected would then be donated to the Qatar Cancer Society toward breast cancer research. It became a huge event, and now that I'm no longer a student at (Texas A&M at Qatar), it continues." 

In 2019, Amani was selected as one of only two women from the entire country of Qatar to attend a two-week conference in Vienna, Austria, on women empowerment presented by the United Nations and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. 

A few of her other accomplishments include starting the annual Appreciate an Aggie event at Texas A&M at Qatar. The Society of Women Engineers sold roses, and the proceeds benefitted the organization. Also in 2019, she traveled to the flagship Texas A&M University campus to interview many female engineers and leaders including Dr. Nancy J. Currie-Gregg, professor of practice in aerospace engineering and industrial systems and engineering. She created a video based on her interviews for International Women’s Day to share at Texas A&M at Qatar. 

Sara Amani holding the American flag and the Qatar flag
Amani is a student of the Department of Multidisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M currently taking classes remotely in Qatar. | Image: Courtesy of Sara Amani

She also works very closely with Dr. Hamid Parsaei, professor in industrial and systems engineering on the main campus, on various research projects and studies related to engineering education. 

"I am delighted she received this prestigious award," said Parsaei. "However, I am confident she is destined to receive many more and become an exceptional leader in the field of engineering education. She has truly impressed me as a dedicated, intelligent, honest, ethical, professional and sincere person. She does not shy away from challenging herself to higher goals and tackling difficult and demanding research issues."

Amani is currently residing in Qatar, conducting a research study about women in engineering. She is now taking remote classes as a student of Texas A&M, working toward her doctoral degree in engineering education. As a student of the multidisciplinary engineering department, she’s working on a specialized degree plan to achieve this goal.

"I take classes from the College of Education and I take classes from the College of Engineering," she said. "I love how I can work with my advisor and develop my degree plan on my own. I love how customizable it is and that I can participate in engineering education even though it's not an official program but falls under interdisciplinary engineering."

Although she is thrilled about receiving an ACE award, her work has just begun.

"I'm excited, and I think it's a great honor," she said. "This isn't something that ends here for me, and I'm not done with helping women in engineering. I hope to be a professor or an administrator at an engineering university like Texas A&M. I would hope to continue to start and implement further initiatives for women in engineering."