College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Find support at Iowa State – Engineer at ISU CCEE

Doctoral student builds a supportive professional, personal community while at Iowa State

Some people pursue a doctoral degree. Some travel from long distances to continue their education. And some, like Minas Guirguis, travel from halfway around the world with a family to go to graduate school. That is commitment.

“You need support,” the materials engineer and mother of two says. “Sometimes, you’re so frustrated in Ph.D. programs. So, you need the support of your friends. You need to know that this is normal. You need to know that, if you need help, there is help. You need to know that you have your own time to grow and your own time to learn.”

Guirguis has both experienced the supportive environment of Iowa State and has been a part of that support. She is passionate about her work as a teaching assistant, where she mentors and guides fellow students through various courses.

“In a field like this, support was one of the very important things [to me],” she says. “Here at ISU, whenever anyone is asking about the program, people usually talk to him about the support that he is going to get from his colleagues, from his research team, from his advisor.”

Her own advisor, Assistant Professor Ashley Buss, is an example of this. Guirguis says that Buss listened to her interests prior to assigning her research and graduate work. As one of Guirguis’ main goals included building an academic career herself, Buss involved her on the ground level of class management from the start. Guirguis’ work gets her interacting with students, involved with grading and administering exams under the guidance of Buss.

“It’s how you direct your student to be who he wants or who she wants to be, and then giving them all kinds of assistance to be like this,” Guirguis says of the approach.

Note: In May-July 2018, Iowa State University College of Engineering Communications is setting out to find the top reasons why graduate students choose to pursue their educations at ISU CCEE. “Engineer at ISU CCEE” is a video/written series featuring graduate students from ISU CCEE. Each student shares his or her unique reason for choosing Iowa State. Find out more about the graduate experience at ISU CCEE by following this series, “Engineer at ISU CCEE,” on our FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn accounts (Iowa State University Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering or ISUConE).