Engineering women's interest

September 21, 2007

Name - Haifa Takruri-Rizk. Age: 45. Job: Senior lecturer in engineering, Salford University. Salary: More than £45,000

Education: BSc in electrical engineering form Birzeit University in Palestine. MSc and PhD from Manchester University Institute of Science and Technology.

Working hours: I don't really keep track, but I would say on average I work from 9am to 10pm each day.

Your department: I work in the School of Computing Science and Engineering, which is one of the oldest in the university.

What is your office like? I'm lucky enough to have my own office, which is bursting at the seams with books and journals. I have found room for a couple of plants and a display cabinet containing souvenirs sent by my students who are abroad and photos from the events I organise to promote science and engineering to women.

What's your biggest challenge this year? As ever, I want to get more of my research published and also continue my work widening women's access to science and engineering. Right now, I'm at a telecommunications family day at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry organised by my department, where I hope some of the young women attending will be inspired by what they see.

How will you solve it? The only way to solve problems is to work harder.

Worst moment of your university career: Recently a delegate at a conference I had organised had an accident. Luckily it wasn't serious, but I felt terrible.

Do you socialise with people at work? Quite a lot. When people leave or join the department we go out. We also hold regular lunches to discuss our research.

Best excuse you have heard for bad behaviour: Students still give the best excuses - "My car was stolen/broke down"; "My luggage went missing at the airport" and so on. Strangely, the only one I haven't heard is "My dog ate my homework". Perhaps it's too much of a cliche.

Who are the most difficult people you deal with? It sounds too good to be true but the people I work with are generally very happy to help. I've had problems with some staff in the past, but we were able to resolve them.

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