Shahda Mazin Al-Taie
B.Eng. Mechanical Engineering (Hons)
Sustainability Consultant

With a First Class Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Shahda Mazin Al Taie is now applying her knowledge and expertise to mitigating the effects of climate change in the United Arab Emirates.

In her role as Technical Officer at the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE), Shahda aims to reduce carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. “I am currently working as a consultant in the fields of green economy and sustainability, to promote and facilitate the transition of organisations, communities and cities to a low carbon economy,” she says.

“My work involves dealing with a wide range of clients from the public and private sector as well as international organisations such as United Nations for projects related to carbon footprint and greenhouse gas accounting (GHG) accounting, compiling GHG inventories, establishing emission reduction strategies, setting measurement, reporting and verification frameworks and energy efficiency projects.”

Sustainability is the key as mechanical engineers globally find themselves faced with conflicting demands for ever-increasing living standards while, at the same time, protecting the Earth’s limited resources.

“I see that there is a lot of room for growth for me personally in this new and emerging market as more governments, communities and decision makers are paying attention to the adverse effects of climate change and ways of tackling it. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to these efforts to save our planet,” says Shahda.

The Heriot-Watt alumna appreciates the fundamental value of her degree and has worked hard to augment and continue her education since:

“My degree and programme equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills that are required as an engineer and provided me with the basis for further growth as a professional in my field. I think that personal initiative, going for training and being involved with professional workshops, can go a long way. Although those were not part of my university programme per se, the ability to identify areas for improvement and the skills required to qualify for training definitely were. I also think that my university experience, the honours degree programme especially, helped me develop my leadership skills and learn how to efficiently manage my time and meet deadlines.”

Originally from Iraq, Shahda (23) has lived in Dubai with her family for last 15 years and was pleased to pursue her higher education at the Heriot-Watt campus in the city: “I always wanted a degree that was accredited worldwide but was available right here in the United Arab Emirates and that is what initially drew me to Heriot Watt University. Coming from a British education system, I found the transition from high school to university challenging but manageable. I think one of the biggest advantages is the fact that there is consistent and efficient communication between professors and students. I always felt welcome to discuss project related issues, or even internships and career direction, with my professors.”

Shahda has advice for new Mechanical Engineering students: “Focus on acquiring time management skills. Managing time was one of my biggest challenges – it’s one of the biggest challenges we all face. Another thing I would say would be to focus on the actual learning and knowledge for itself, rather than grades. Lastly, working on networking skills in professional circles is a major point students should learn as it will often be the difference between getting a job or not.”

A First Class example of how to make the most of the University experience, Shahda was further recognised during her degree at Heriot-Watt when she was awarded the Eric Gibb prize for best exam performance two years running. As Shahda plays her part towards the goal of a successful, low carbon economy - finding innovative solutions for clients to reduce harmful emissions - a more sustainable future looks safe in her hands.

29 March 2017