Dr Mark Jabbal is an Assistant Professor in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nottingham, where his research and teaching are primarily in aerodynamics. He is also a co-opted member of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Aerodynamics Specialist Group.
Both his day job and professional activity are in environments in which women are a minority. After attending an aerodynamics conference last year, in which there were no women panel or keynote speakers and very few women presenters of technical papers, Mark felt he needed to do more to change this and to bring greater awareness of women’s contributions and achievements in this field. As a result and to-date, he has led Q&A’s with more than 50 women across a range of levels in industry (graduate engineers to directors) and academia (PhD researchers to professors) working in aviation, automotive and energy aerodynamics. These Q&As have been published on a social media page he has created on Twitter – @AeroWomen, which is helping make women in aerodynamics more visible to an international audience.
Through this initiative, he has also contributed to improving gender balance in his own workplace and professional institution. It has directly led to his successful case for support of a woman for a prestigious RAeS Aerodynamics Award, which previously only had one woman recipient (in 1999) out of 57 recipients in its 60-year history. It has also directly led to a successful proposal of a woman keynote speaker at this year’s RAeS Aerodynamics Conference.
In Mark’s day job he has achieved gender parity of invited guest lecturers from industry on his aerodynamics course, being the first lecturer to do so on the undergraduate aerospace engineering programme. He has also achieved gender parity of invited seminar speakers from academia in the research group to which he is affiliated; the first time this has been achieved.