Volunteer Highlight: Meghdad Ghias

Meghdad Ghias, Vice Chair (Student Life) of the GSA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

My name is Meghdad. I’m doing my PhD here in mechanical engineering. A little bit about myself. I was born and raised in a small city in the north of Iran by the Caspian sea. So I had the privilege to be by the sea every day. At some nights I could have slept with the sound of waves. That was a glorious, like the glory of the Caspian sea, which I miss the most after my mom and dad. For my bachelor’s and master’s I went to a technical university in north of Iran again in Babol and I majored in manufacturing engineering. I have a little bit capabilities in machine learning and sheet metal forming. A little bit of everything. And now I am here in the the second year in PhD, my whole research is changed. So I’m working on dynamic modeling and biomedical engineering.

I have the opportunity to be the vice chair of student life of the EDI committee of GSA. So this committee is a new committee to the addition of the great committees, the GSA had. And so basically we are trying to promote equity, diversity and inclusion among the graduate students.

That’s the first goal, but we are targeting more than that. Like you’re not just focusing on the graduate students. That is the main goal. At the same time we are focusing on the bigger picture, the whole students at a university, or maybe the whole city. And as the Vice Chair student life I am the person responsible for events and basically anything happening that needs scheduling.

I have plenty of reasons to come to GSA. One of the most important ones was the influence the GSA has in the community. I didn’t know that before, like when I came to university, I was like, okay, this looks like a student association. They’re not doing anything. And I went, I read about the great work that they’ve done so far. And I was like that’s a great opportunity.

I can go in there and help the community and living it and I saw the EDI committee, which I am very passionate about. I’m coming from engineering. And as an engineer I’m talking about myself not, talking about the engineering community. I mostly think about mathematics physics and those things like STEM in a short form. I mostly don’t think about the social side of the life and I see that a common let’s say a common happening and people around me in this community. So I thought we need something like that here. Like I can be a voice for engineering community at the EDI level and tell people the stories that’s happening around me. Maybe that can help to tackle these issues or find a remedy for that maybe.

When I’m coming out of my position in April, if just one person in the community have more information about EDI or is more aware of what’s happening around them. I’m glad I found whatever I wanted. But besides that, I really wanted to practice for myself teamwork how to work with others and be in an interdisciplinary team to work with others from other majors, other faculties, and finding that common language. That is something I will take out of this role.

For the EDI committee, we have two two divisions advocacy and events. For the advocacy part, I’m pretty sure Emily is doing a great job in putting the infrastructure for teaching other people or giving the resources for self-education of themselves to learn about EDI.

That is the main idea to what it’s Emily doing for the advocacy part and what I’m doing with the help of Evangelina, the chair. We are trying to have two panels, one in December and one in January. For the December panel. We are talking about things happening around the world that no one is talking about because, the media is not focusing on them.

Actually I saw one of those today in the morning on this. The genocide of Hazara us in Afghanistan that is happening right now. And no one is talking about it. The media is not focusing on it. And that is something we definitely are going to talk about in December. January, we’re going to talk about mental health around the BIPOC community black indigenous people of color community, and wanting to promote the mental health and talk about those issues that are happening there! And we have another event in mind. That’s a conference of EDI, which is a surprise. So I’m just going to keep it to myself now, but no good things are happening.

Read recent EDI Blogs of the GSA:

To learn more about the GSA Volunteer Recruitment Program, visit here: gsa.ucalgary.ca/volunteer