‘Famous Five’ – Nazma Begum
In the fourth instalment on the SIT ‘Famous Five’ students fronting the university’s Admissions Campaign 2015, we shine the spotlight on Nazma Begum who tells us why women do not make poorer engineers than men.
1) You were picked as a face for the SIT Admissions Campaign 2015. How did that come about?
I first received a call from SIT about the Admissions Campaign. I was told that there would be an audition involved. The selection team was supposed to meet me at SIT@NP Building where my classes were held at that time. But I wasn’t feeling too well on the day of the audition so that had to be cancelled.
I was told later on that I was chosen as a face of the Admissions Campaign, even though I hadn’t gone through a proper audition. I think I’m lucky. I thought to myself: I would give it my very best during the photoshoot.
2) Share with us some of the highlights of the photoshoot.
During the photoshoot, the fantastic team of hair and make-up artists worked wonders to get me all spruced up. I remembered thinking to myself back then: so this is what it feels like to be a model…
I’ve a habit of taking selfies with my mobile phone but the experience was way different. I remembered running out of ‘poses’ – coming out with new ones on-the-spot was another ‘lesson’ I had learned.
But I think I did a pretty good job.
3) Tell us more about the degree course you are reading.
I am currently reading a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechanical Design Engineering at the University of Glasgow (UofG), which will take me two years to complete.
I’ve just finished my first semester in December 2014. It was an exciting semester, even though the transition from Polytechnic to university had been a bit of a challenge.
For now, I’m just looking forward to getting my results. Fingers crossed.
4) Why did you decide to take up this degree programme?
SIT’s degree programme in Mechanical Design Engineering was a natural choice after I graduated with a diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Even at polytechnic, I’d always known that I would pursue a degree. For now, I count myself lucky to be able to get into the programme of my choice.
5) Why did you decide to take a degree at SIT?
To me, SIT is the best option for any polytechnic graduate. First, the full-time degree programmes will enable polytechnic students to graduate within two years or so, thanks to the credit exemptions.
Secondly, there are bridging courses prior to the commencement of the semester – these really help students adapt to university life.
So why wouldn’t I consider SIT as a first choice?
6) You have been studying engineering for years. Do you think men really make better engineers than women?
Absolutely no truth in that. Anyone without a passion for engineering would make a poor engineer.
While it is true that there are fewer women in the field of engineering compared to men, there are still women in this line who have been very successful.
This is why it still surprises me that in this day and age, there are people who do not consider women engineers on a par with men; whenever I tell people I am reading an engineering degree, I would still often get funny looks.
I think it is difficult to change people’s perceptions. This, however, spurs me on to doing my best at work.
7) So do you see any ‘upsides’ to being in the male-dominated engineering industry?
Being one of the few girls in class, we tend to get a bit more attention at school.
But honestly, I think women see things differently, which adds diversity of perspective to the views from the existing pool of engineers.
8) What are your plans going forward?
To me, getting a degree represents the very first step towards embarking on a good career path.
Going forward, I would like to work in an environment where there are experienced engineers from whom I can learn and contribute back to the engineering industry.
At the end of the day, I would also like to give back to society as an engineer.
9) How do you intend to “give back to society”?
I really look forward to becoming involved in the process of building new and beautiful buildings in Singapore; magnificent buildings and structures fascinate me, for instance, the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.
Another way that engineers can give back to society is through the transportation system, which plays such a major role in our everyday lives. These are exciting times for us in Singapore, especially for those students who have taken up SIT’s degree programme in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering – and who will graduate to play a vital role in rejuvenating Singapore’s transport infrastructure!
10) How important do you think engineering is as a field of work/study?
To date, we have managed to achieve a lot thanks to basic engineering tools as well as more complex engineering feats, which include the building of engineering systems in aircrafts.
While engineering forms a core component in our modern lives, to me, it ultimately embodies the vision of creating a better future for society.