Outstanding Collegiate Member

Ramona Naseri

Duke University

For a commitment to SWE and future women engineers by reviving her section; for mentoring programs that contribute to students’ success; and for technical achievements through research, internships, and projects.

Ramona Naseri, of Irvine, California, can add her name to the list of family members who are engineers, including her mother, father, and sister. Having recently earned a B.S.E. in biomedical engineering in May 2022 at Duke University, Naseri will join them by working in industry.

Naseri became aware of the Society of Women Engineers in the seventh grade when she accompanied her older sister to her university’s SWE activities fair. Naseri envisioned herself being similarly involved when she went to university. When she arrived at Duke, however, she found an inactive section with little funding, nor was it in good standing. Her family stressed the benefits of connecting with a community of women engineers, so Naseri joined the Duke SWE section and proposed to revitalize it. She was elected vice president of outreach and student affairs.

Naseri, along with a few other enthusiastic students, began recruiting women engineering students to become involved in the section. They established a new executive board, sought out mentors and advisors, and eventually earned good standing. Naseri met with both campus engineering and nonengineering organizations to build interest and membership. The university sponsored Naseri and other SWE members to attend WE19, where they met collegiate groups and professional women engineers who discussed how to seek funding, plan programs, and organize outreach activities. Naseri wanted other members to experience the conference and obtained funding from the Duke Engineering Alumni Council to sponsor 25 people to attend WE21.

Subsequent positions as vice president and now president have broadened Naseri’s reach and influence. She established the First Year Buddy Program, pairing first-year students with upper-class students the summer before they enter university to highlight the benefits of SWE membership. Her desire to create a stable section has resulted in social and professional development programs offering mentorship opportunities, resume and interview workshops, career days, and assorted outreach activities to foster younger students’ interest in SWE.

Outside of SWE, Naseri has improved her technical skills as an undergraduate research assistant in Duke’s Bursac Lab and held an internship in research and development at Boston Scientific in Maple Grove, Minnesota. There, she honed her CAD and 3D printing skills by creating an anatomical model for biological simulation of transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a minimally invasive procedure to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open properly.

An enthusiastic fan of the Duke University Blue Devils men’s basketball team, Naseri joined the Duke Chronicle student newspaper as a sportswriter covering Duke sports teams year-round. Similar to her experiences as an engineering student, she was the only female on staff. She began hosting a diversity talk during recruitment period that prompted the mostly male newspaper staff to be more welcoming to women. The Chronicle now has 14 women in the sports department.

Naseri plans to work in the medical device industry. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new places, writing poetry, watching Duke basketball, and playing with her dog.