Amneh Kalloush achieves engineering success in the field and the classroom
Ontario Construction Report special feature
Amneh Kalloush has more than 20 years’ experience as a civil engineer. She has worked in all phases of designing projects to finishing stages. For the past nine years she has been applying her knowledge and expertise as a professor within the Civil Engineering Technology program at Fanshawe College.
Kalloush says since the beginning of high school she demonstrated excellence in her classes, especially in math and science. “My family and teachers were very supportive and encouraged me to further develop my skills in these fields and this set me on the path to engineering.”
As a professor she sees more women now being attracted to the field. She earned her Master’s Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Western University, and she is a licensed professional engineer in Ontario. Her expertise extends to several areas including structural design and concrete technology. “I personally never found it difficult being a woman in the field. In my experience a good engineer has always been a good engineer, whether they were a man or a woman.”
Kalloush says her career, both when she was active on job sites and now in the classroom, has provided her enjoyable experiences interacting with others and working on a variety of challenging and interesting projects. “It is satisfying participating in research and education projects from the development stages to the actual conclusion. As a teacher, I use these experiences to encourage my students to participate in student research innovation opportunities at Fanshawe College.”
Fanshawe College has embarked on a new venture to establish the Canadian Centre for Product Validation. This will be a one-of-a-kind facility in Canada offering a comprehensive prototyping and test facility in one central location. The Ccntre will be located in London at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. This will create an additional opportunity for students to learn new skills that will make them a more valuable commodity to industry upon graduation.
Her role in education is not limited to the classroom. Since she started at the college, Kalloush has been involved in collaborating on research projects between Fanshawe and industry partners. For the last six years she has also been part of the research team at Fanshawe College, and has supervised the student team entries into the American Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Big-Beam annual international competition. She says Fanshawe annually receives recognition in the competition and in 2013, won both first and second place in zone seven. “This competition encourages students to make connections between their classroom learning and real-life applications.”
Kalloush says Fanshawe’s hands-on training approach and co-op work placements also help strengthen theoretical and practical knowledge. Together these ensure the students who leave her classroom have the knowledge, tools and experience to succeed in the field.
Another opportunity to attract more interest in this field, Kalloush volunteers her time to educate young girls through hands-on activities at the Fanshawe Girls Exploring Technology Summer Camp. She says the program, open to girls in grades five through eight, “provides an opportunity for early exposure to technology gives the girls the chance to explore a new path and offers an encouraging environment to develop confidence in their ability in the field.”
Based on her own satisfying career, Kalloush says she absolutely recommends engineering as a career to women. “It is an equal opportunity career for both men and women. My advice would be to not fear pursuing something you enjoy.”
She considers herself fortunate to be affiliated with Fanshawe College and appreciates the support she receives from the dean, Faculty of Technology, right through to each of her colleagues.