Who's Who of Professional Women


Mona Zaghloul

Born in Egypt, Mona E. Zaghloul became the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University in 1969. Going on to matriculate at the University of Waterloo in Canada, she achieved a master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1970 and a master’s degree in applied analysis and computer science in 1971. In 1975, she once again made history as the first woman to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in engineering at the University of Waterloo. Subsequently, Dr. Zaghloul spent time as a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Waterloo and with Aalborg University in Denmark, worked at the Computer Science Corporation from 1975 to 1977, and was a research contractor at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1978.

Dr. Zaghloul joined the George Washington University as an assistant professor in 1980, becoming the first woman to be hired in the university’s School of Engineering & Applied Science. Receiving tenure in 1983, she was additionally the first woman professor at the George Washington University to be promoted to the rank of full professor. She considers these achievements to be the major highlights of her career, coming off the back of years of challenges faced as a woman in the field of engineering. In the 43 years she has spent with the university, Dr. Zaghloul has achieved 12 electrical engineering patents and advised 43 doctoral students, all of whom have gone on to hold high-paying engineering positions with companies like Intel.

Holding considerable expertise in electronics, Dr. Zaghloul is a pioneer in chip design and notably introduced several courses on chip design at the George Washington University. She has made a name for herself for her skill in writing curriculums and other education programs. From 1994 to 1998, she was the chair of electrical engineering and computer science at the university and also spent time as the director of MEMS and VLSI technologies in 1996. Alongside her primary responsibilities, she holds membership with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in order to keep abreast of new developments in her field. Dr. Zaghloul served IEEE as the president of the sensors council from 2008 to 2009 and was selected as a life member in 2010.

For her excellence, Dr. Zaghloul has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades over the course of her career. Honored on numerous occasions by IEEE, she was named a fellow in 1996 and received the Circuits and Systems Jubilee Golden Medal in 2000. Furthermore, she was honored as a Circuits and Systems Society distinguished lecturer with IEEE from 2000 to 2002. Recognized by her alma mater, the University of Waterloo, she was presented with an honorary doctorate in 2007 for her varied career achievements. Since 2013, Dr. Zaghloul has been the recipient of research grants on MEMS circuits and sensors from several federal agencies and commercial companies and was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2017.

Dr. Zaghloul attributes much of her success to her persistence and pioneering spirit that led her to be the first woman in countless aspects of her profession. She has always been driven by a desire to succeed and hopes to set a good example to inspire other women to enter the field of engineering. As she looks toward the future, she hopes to continue to conduct impactful research in order to address problems and issues faced by society today. One of her current projects is a device that will be able to identify and detect COVID-19 with greater ease. Inspired by her parents, who were both chemistry professors, Dr. Zaghloul’s husband is also an engineer, and her two children have pursued careers in science and engineering fields as well.


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