Sharareh (Sherri) Kermanshachi, associate professor of civil engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, has won the 2022 Texas Women’s Foundation Young Leader Award.
The award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a trailblazer who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector and is creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.
“This diversity leadership award means so much, as it recognizes efforts in promoting women and other minorities in engineering fields,” Kermanshachi said. “Engineering, especially construction, is still largely a male-dominated field. Women who are coming up in the field—whether they are students or professionals—need continuous encouragement and support to follow their passion and be successful in their career.
“I visit K-12 girls on my own time to encourage them and tell them the truth about engineering and construction jobs. Many girls have a misconception about what can be accomplished in these fields.”
The Texas Women’s Foundation, a leader in driving social and economic change for women, girls and families in Texas, celebrates leaders who help lift up women and girls. This year’s award winners were recognized at the group’s Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration recently.
Kermanshachi delivered a one-hour presentation at the celebration on “You Connect: Engineering Resilience for the Next Generation.” She discussed effective strategies and best practices to promote the engineering profession among young women and minorities. More than 700 people attended in person and hundreds more participated virtually.
“Dr. Kermanshachi practices what she preaches,” said Ali Abolmaali, Department of Civil Engineering chair and professor. “She not only inspires women to pursue their academic goals, but she also helps them to land internships and professional work. She’s invaluable to not just students but to everyone along those students’ academic paths and eventual professional standing.”
Kermanshachi also is director of the Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainable Environment lab and Technology Transfer Director of Center for Transportation Equity, Decisions and Dollars at UTA. She has received over 40 international, national, and regional honors, including the 2022 Diversity Leadership Award from Dallas Business Journal, the 2021 Rosa Parks Leadership Diversity Award, the 2020 Women in Technology Award, the 2020 Mark Hasso Educator of the Year Award, the 2018 Design Build in America (DBIA) Distinguished Leadership Award, and the 2018 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.
She has earned the 2021 Best Paper Award from Education Sciences and the 2021 Associated Schools of Construction Teaching Award. She was named to Civil + Structural Engineer magazine’s Rising Stars list and was also the only academic recipient of the 2017 Texas and Louisiana Engineering News Record Top 20 Under 40 Award.
Kermanshachi has received several other national and regional awards, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Professional Service Award, ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Fellowship, Utility Engineering & Surveying Institute Fellowship, ASCE Outstanding Reviewer, Open Educational Resources Research Fellowship, DBIA Owner Scholarship and the Graduate Climate Award.
She has published more than 200 books, scholarly articles, conference proceedings and research reports. She serves as board member of Construction Management Association of America-North Texas and editorial board member of three journals.
In addition to her doctorate in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, she also holds a master’s degree in civil engineering, an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering.
Kermanshachi has published several articles focusing on evaluation of gender-based pay gaps for women across engineering fields. She also has performed multiple research and outreach projects to boost participation of women and other minorities in engineering.
Some of those publications include:
- “A Gender-Based Analysis of Workforce Promotion Factors in U.S. Transportation Agencies”
- “Predictive Modeling of U.S. Transportation Workforce Diversity Trends: A Study of Human Capital Recruitment and Retention in Complex Environments”
- “Investigation of the Barriers and Their Overcoming Solutions to Women’s Involvement in the U.S. Construction Industry”
- “Effectiveness of Engineering Workshops on Attracting Hispanic Female Students to Construction Career Paths”
- “Path to Developing Influential Hispanic Leaders”
- “Women’s Representation in Federal Transportation Agencies: A Descriptive Analysis”
Kermanshachi also has investigated the barriers to involvement for women in engineering projects, the results of which were published in several journals and international conference proceedings, including ASCE-Construction Research Congress.
In addition to supervising multiple postdoctoral, doctoral and master’s students, Kermanshachi is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Transportation Research Record and ASCE Journal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction. She is also the founder of three student chapters and currently serves as the faculty adviser for UTA’s DBIA chapter and student chapters for the Associated General Contractors of America and Construction Management Association of America.