by Kalysha Snow

    Mona El-Tahan – A Pioneer for Women in Science and Technology

    Mona is a great role model for young women in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and worldwide. She is not only a professional engineer, but also an entrepreneur. Mona has beaten many odds throughout her career. She has obtained a degree (BSc. Civil Engineering), a Masters degree (Ocean Engineering), PhD degrees in various disciplines, and employment in a field that was, at that point in time, entirely male dominant.

    Mona has created her own company InCORETEC Inc, and is the founding president of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) NL. WISE encourages young women to pursue science and technology career paths.

    Mona’s own career journey begins in 1975, after obtaining a BSc in Civil Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt. Within this same year, she moved to Newfoundland, Canada. “When I came to Canada, I was the only female in the engineering program who started to do her Master’s here,” said Mona. Mona’s original plan was not to pursue graduate studies, “Actually, I was fresh out of university and I was tired,” she stated. However, when she originally set out as a female engineer looking for work, she knocked on the door of the Lavalin-Franco Inc. office, and was all but rejected. “They looked at me strange,” stated Mona “They said, ‘We’ve never heard about females here before. If you want to start here, you can start as a draftsperson and maybe move on.” But drafting was the thing that Mona liked the least, and if she started as a draftsperson she feared that she would not be able to grow within the company – so she declined their offer and pursued a Master’s degree in Ocean Engineering at Memorial University. As part of her Master’s thesis, Mona developed the first mathematical model in North America to predict iceberg movement. Upon graduating from her Master’s, Mona was offered a job with the very same company that had previously offered her the draftperson position. Only this time, it was in a position that she desired – therefore, she accepted it. For eight years, Mona was the first female hired in the company.

    During her eight years at Lavalin-Franco Inc. Mona worked her way up to senior researcher before returning to Memorial University as Project Manager/Senior Research Engineer. There, she obtained the funding and research resources that were vital to the founding of her own company, InCORETEC Inc in 1995, where she is currently President and COO. InCORETEC Inc provides applied R&D and consulting services for local, national and even international clients.

    Mona’s long history in her field, has her clearly understand the struggles that women face when they enter a “non-traditional” career. Mona strives to work towards a future in which sciences and engineering will not be male dominated and women will feel more comfortable pursuing them.

    Mona says that the best advice that she can give to a high school girl is to “believe in herself. This may sound rather generic, but it’s the best advice to give to anyone in any situation. If she believes that she can do anything, with enough hard work and dedication, she can.”

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    1 comment
    • Rana Abdulla

      The classy brilliant Mouna has inspired so many professionals to grow. Her contributions for humanity and helping others created miracles in many people’s lives. Her endless acts of love are as big as a mountain, surprise you of any work ever done.

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