In the third part of our mini series focusing on women in engineering, we’d like to introduce you to Hassna Aitahmed-Ali, who works as a Chemical Engineer for Nel Electrolyser.
Hassna Aitahmed-Ali grew up in a household where the tradition is to fix what is broken – or at least try and learn from it. This tradition evolved into an interest in engineering. After completing her Masters thesis in metallurgy and mineral engineering with a focus on the process of flotation, Hassna moved through the ranks of the engineering world, from being a process engineer to a production manager. Years of hard work and experience finally led her to a position as a manager at a smelter, making use of her deep competence in the field of mineral engineering.
Always looking for new opportunities to apply her knowledge and experience, Hassna moved into the world of hydrogen. The thought of working with green energy has been on her mind for several years, and in February of this year, she finally took the step and started working at Nel. According to Hassna, working at Nel has given her the opportunity to learn about the hydrogen development process, as well as to be part of the commissioning of a new plant. Hassna says she’s looking forward to learning even more about this exciting industry as well as being part of the green shift.
As most people would likely acknowledge, engineering has traditionally been a male dominated line of work, and even though we are seeing a growth of women in the field, there are still several challenges to overcome. One of Hassna’s challenges has adapting to workplace culture dominated by men. Being able to adapt has been crucial to Hassna, but it can be daunting to find the courage to influence and potentially change established routines and cultures. She notes that to do so, you must have thick skin and faith in your capabilities. If there is one piece of advice, she has to women who want to pursue a career in engineering, it’s this:
“You get your hands dirty and be able to see the end-product; you take it from A-Z. Your work, at the end, can create great value for the community, and possibly even save the world.”
Despite the challenges, she has found most of her co-workers to be supportive and responsive to her thoughts and ideas. At Nel, she can put her years of experience towards technology that will prove to be crucial for the transition and storage of energy in the very near future. She noted she is excited to be a part of a future she believes to be bright for green hydrogen, and eventually making the goals of the Paris agreement more achievable.
For our part, we are thrilled to have an individual with the determination of Hassna on the Nel team! As we like to say, working at Nel is about more than just a job; it’s an opportunity to have a successful, motivating career while making the world a better place.