Despite the obstacles that women may encounter in life, Farahnaz Nezhad did not let anything get in her way of achieving her dream job in the electronics world.
Nezhad attended Kharazmi University in Iran, where she played badminton for two years and was studying mathematics. However, all that changed when she came to the United States and decided to make a change in her life.
“Now is the opportunity that I can change my major to something that I really like and computer was something that I really enjoyed,” Nezhad said.
In the year 2000, Nezhad came to the United States where she attended CSUN to continue her education. She received her Bachelor’s in computer engineering and Master’s in electrical engineering.
According to Nezhad, being the only girl in most of her CSUN classes was a challenge. She constantly had to prove herself that she was both talented and reliable just like anybody else. During her study at CSUN, she joined clubs such as Society of Women Engineer (SWE) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer (IEEE).
Every year, large companies would go to CSUN to interview students. In 2004, Haas Automation Inc. hired Nezhad as a Software Engineer where she worked for more than 12 years. In summer 2012, she taught at ITT Technical Institute where she taught different courses in electronics and computer programming.
“At my job I was the only girl in the whole department, so sometimes it’s not easy because sometimes men look at you like you are not serious. The good thing is that you get a chance to work with men. You don’t really see the gender of the person. You just have the same goal, have the same study and work in the same company,” Nezhad said.
Her philosophy and strong willed personality are reasons why her colleagues believe she is a good fit for Pierce.
“I think that she’s a great role model, especially for our female students that are entering the electronic program because she has made a successful career out of electronics and engineering, as well as become an instructor here at Pierce College, so we’re really glad to have her. She’s well-versed in her field,” industrial technology department chair Michael Van Dyke said.
Aside from her interest in electronics, she wanted to also pursue teaching.
According to Nezhad, teaching has always been her passion, which is why she began teaching at different places for part-time since she had her full time job. However, it wasn’t until three years ago that she began teaching part time at CSUN in the electrical engineer department.
“I really like teaching and I decided that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I enjoy teaching electronics to students. One of the things that I would really like to make happen is bringing more women to this field because I really believe that women are good engineers. They are smart, reliable and can do a lot of things,” Nezhad said.
Her positive attitude has been noted by colleagues around the department.
“She seems like a pretty nice person. She’s real personable, she comes in happy,” said electronic lab technician Jim O’Donnell.
She is now a full-time electronics instructor at Pierce College and part-time instructor at CSUN. Nezhad believes that teaching is not limited to working on a professional level, but also benefits student’s critical thinking and problem solving ability.
“I cannot put an end to my learning. I like to have an interactive class and I want students to know that they can do things. I want to make them professional for the future,” Nezhad said. “I want to serve better to the community.”