Samaneh Ashoori

WRC Distinguished Graduate Student Award Recipient 2022

WRC Award Recipients


Samaneh Ashoori is a trailblazing advocate for women in STEM and a doctor of philosophy candidate in the chemical and petroleum engineering program at the University of Calgary. 

Ashoori was born and raised in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, where conflict and hardship were commonplace growing up. The challenges she faced in her formative years have instilled in her a deep sense of empathy and compassion, and unwavering commitment to helping and empowering others.

Prior to arriving in Canada, in 2004, Ashoori was the first and only Iranian female engineer accepted in the Master of Petroleum Well Engineering at the Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia since the Iranian revolution in 1979. This pivotal moment inspired and opened the door for many young Iranian women to follow suit. 

After immigrating to Canada, in search of a job, Ashoori was met with dismal prospects due to the turbulent oil downturn, but she pivoted by applying to the University of Calgary to pursue her PhD. Amid her studies, Ashoori also struggled with the challenges of being a mom following the birth of her daughter but proved to be resilient as she worked hard to excel in her program.

Alongside her academic endeavours, Ashoori currently chairs the Graduate College Communications Committee. Ashoori has helped highlight successful female graduate students and professionals who have overcome cultural and social barriers to foster inspiration and raise awareness. 

In acknowledging the challenges and changes that come with settling in a new country, Ashoori helped found a social organization to support immigrant engineers called NAFT Club Mentoring Program (NCMP). To date, NCMP has supported over 500 members with job search resources, mentorship opportunities and immigration support. 

Ashoori has participated in various entrepreneurial training programs within her field. Recently, she landed a $200,000 UCEED fund for a local startup, after she conducted a market analysis for the company.

Her life’s work and advocacy is committed to shifting how demographics are viewed to better reflect the diverse societies they serve and drive positive social change, while empowering future generations of female engineers with the confidence to take risks and challenge the status quo.