Rose Ghamari: The Girl with the Golden Hardhat

Rose Ghamari, 3rd year Aerospace Engineering

She’s everywhere, you can’t miss her. In the summer of 2010, she was in Alabama, representing Ryerson at NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race, the Ryerson Moonbuggy Team competed on the lunar rover model they built. This past summer, she was one of two females on the CanSat Team, a team which builds model satellites, for an international competition held in Texas.

Just two weeks ago, you saw her leading the massive multitude of rowdy engineers during Orientation week. To understand the party of purple people better: the hundreds of signature yellow hardhat belong to first-year frosh students, frosh leaders bear black hardhats, red hardhats are for RESS (Ryerson Engineering Student Society) discipline directors, white for RESS executives, blue for “ram guards” (people selected to protect everyone else’s hardhat, especially the president’s), which finally leads us to Rose Ghamari, the president of RESS. This petite president shines, quite literally with her one and only golden hardhat, amongst the crowd. She’s at the top of the Ryerson Engineering Student Society, the head honcho, the Sheldon Levy of RESS.

What are your responsibilities as President of Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS)?

My job as president is to encourage all members to become active participants within RESS and to use all of the services that we provide. I ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinions and interests about all issues concerning their educational and co-curricular activities, and assist them to the best of my abilities. To make this happen, it is my responsibility that all members of the RESS Board of Directors work together efficiently and successfully.

The job description for president is actually extremely vague in RESS, but the president just has to have enough knowledge of our Student Society to be able to deal with anything and everything as it comes along. Also, the president does a little bit of everything in terms of all the other positions on RESS (which have much more specific job descriptions).

What made you go for this position?

The reason why I wanted to become RESS President is that I’m extremely passionate about not only Engineering, but to make sure that all of our engineering students at Ryerson all have a good time during their studies. I want to be able to make everyone’s lives more bearable throughout their academic careers through the various services that RESS provides, and I wanted to get as many people as possible to know about what kind of things that we offer.

I had certain visions in mind about improvements that could be made for our students, and I’ve been working to make them happen. The first one was to get our engineering students a brand new study space. For the first time ever, we have a designated student study space, for engineering students, in the Engineering building. The room officially opened this Monday for students.

What is the best thing about being an engineer?

The best thing about being an engineering student, for me, is that it is a challenging, yet rewarding program. It’s challenging because the content of our courses is really tough, and it takes a long time to learn, sometimes. It really forces us to find a balance between managing school and everything else in our lives.

How else have you been involved with the Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS)?

Prior to being the President of RESS, I was the RESS Vice President of Finance, the RESS Aerospace Director, and the RESS Secretary.

What’s the difference between RESS and RyEng? (I’ve noticed the ubiquitous RyEng stickers around Toronto)

So RESS and RyEng fall under the same thing. RESS (aka Ryerson Engineering Student Society) is only the student society, the people who organize almost all of the major engineering events at Ryerson, including the same people who organized frosh week). RyEng stands for Ryerson Engineering, which is basically all of our Ryerson Engineering Students (aka everyone).

What made you decide on Aerospace Engineering, specifically?

I have always had a fascination with outer space and space travel. Studying aerospace engineering allowed me to start studying what I loved and always wanted to do as a small child. I want to be able to contribute to scientific advancements in this field, and to one day see inter-planetary space travel.

Was there something specific that sparked that love?

I’ve always been awe-struck from the vastness and immensity of the universe, and as a child I felt that maybe placing myself among our galaxy through space travel might help me better understand the meaning of everything and how the universe really works and why we’re here and other intensely profound questions which no one really knows the answer to. Today, as a realistic adult, I know that I most probably won’t ever figure out what I wanted to as a child, nor will I get to go into outer space, but by contributing to the science of it all makes me feel that I’m helping future generations get to these answers more easily.

It’s rewarding because the feeling of accomplishment I get when I figure out how to solve a complicated aerodynamics problem, for example, is so good. I’ve gotten so much good experience and feel really good that I will be prepared enough to take on the world when I graduate.

How does it feel being a female in a generally male-dominated area of study?

For me, it never really mattered that I was a female in a mostly male environment. Everyone was always extremely friendly and nice to one another, regardless of gender, orientation, or race. What’s most important to us is to be respectful to each other, and that way we’re always sure that everyone stays happy!

Does the ratio of females to males bother you?

Ha ha no, it’s never bothered me. What I like about being a female aerospace engineering student, is that I hope it can be inspiring for other younger girls in high school, for example, that it’s okay for them to enter a mostly male-dominated program (like engineering). Every year, the percentage of female engineering students increases, and I’m sure one day the ratio of girls to guys will be pretty much equal.

Who inspires you?

My parents are the people who inspire me the most. I value their wisdom more than anything, and the way that they live their lives and go about handling anything that comes their way is how I want to be. They’ve taught me so much my whole life, and everything that I have accomplished is because of their help and support.

Why is orientation/frosh week important?

I think frosh week is really important because I want all of our new engineering students to know that they are starting a really great journey here at Ryerson, and I want them all to feel like they can come to RESS when they need anything at all, be it course help, advice, or just if they want someone to hang out with.

Frosh week is also important because it allows us to promote RESS and let the students know that we exist and that they can become members of our student society. Some of these students will one day, potentially, be the future leaders of RESS, and it is crucial to make sure that everyone has a good time before we hit the books hardcore!

What’s the most rewarding thing you felt you’ve accomplished at Ryerson? What kind of legacy do you want to be remembered for when you’ve left Ryerson?

The most rewarding this I’ve done at Ryerson ties in a little bit with how I want to be remembered. What’s the most important to me, is not to reach out to the students who are already extremely keen and excited about getting involved with RESS and using our services, but to reach out to the students who don’t fall in that category because they are either too shy, or intimidated by the boisterous behaviour of most engineers. I want them to feel that they are welcome at our student society and that they can be involved and come out to our events. I want to be able to reach out to a larger student body and have our members see RESS as a place they can come to when they need any kind of help.

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