NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Lina KattanLina_Kattan.jpg

Dr. Lina Kattan

Being in a male-dominated workplace brings lots of opportunities.

Urban Alliance Professor in Transportation Systems Optimization
University of Calgary

Lina Kattan is a Professor of Civil Engineering of University of Calgary, Canada. She also holds an Urban Alliance Professorship in Transportation Systems Optimization. Lina’s research program focuses on advanced traffic management and information systems, including, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), traffic control, application of artificial intelligence to ITS, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle, network microsimulation modeling and analysis, dynamic traffic assignment, dynamic demand modeling and traveler behavioral modeling in response to Traffic and Transit information.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

Conducting research. It is exciting as it brings innovation and creativity.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?
My objective is to model, analyze and evaluate the impacts of emerging vehicular technologies on urban transportation and transit planning. Currently I am focusing on:
  1. Modelling and analyzing the traffic flow characteristics of a mixed traffic environment where emerging vehicle technologies such as automated and connected vehicles interact with manually driven vehicles.
  2. Examining how to integrate these emerging systems with the next generation of traffic management and control strategies to achieve improved safety and system performance.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

Academics, Researchers, Consultants in Engineering firms, Government and Municipal Positions

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

Although engineering is predominantly a male dominated field, I have successfully attracted a relatively large number of young women graduate students (around 40%) to my research group.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

I look at diversity as opportunity. My group is really diverse in terms of gender, age, ethnical background, visible minority and technical expertise.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

By having mentors and role models who are supportive for girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering. These mentors do not have to be women. The greatest support I have received is from a male mentor who always believed in my potential.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Being in a male-dominated workplace brings lots of opportunities to women who want to pursue careers in science and engineering. Women bring their unique perspective and skills to this field.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

My model and mentor was Dr. Chan Wirasinghe. He is a great person with a clear vision. He was always supportive to me.