MacKay Sposito Transportation Manager Mahsa Eshghi, PE, was recently named one of DJC Oregon’s “Women of Vision” for 2022. While this honor is exciting, we are in no way surprised that Mahsa is being recognized for her contributions to her work and our community. We recently interviewed her upon this nomination to ask her a few questions about her journey throughout her engineering career. Below is a reflection of our conversation.
Mahsa Eshghi was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States at 26. When asked to reflect on her career choice, Mahsa said, “I knew I wanted to be an engineer when I was in middle school.” Her family prioritized her education and offered her two options for a career path: medicine or engineering. The decision was easy for her.
While Mahsa had an early passion for engineering, she faced a number of challenges, including being one of seven women in her 30-person engineering class in college. Early in her education, Mahsa was told, “Hey, engineering is not for girls,” and that she should change fields. Rather than dissuading her, however, these comments simply motivated Mahsa to work that much harder.
Mahsa immigrated in 2007 and quickly became interested in transportation, especially the way that every project makes an impact on the community – a force that has always been important to Mahsa. When asked why matters of the community were important to her she said, “Well, community should be important to everyone.”
In Iran, community support meant everything to her, and upon her arrival in America, she was greeted by another welcoming community. Mahsa, inspired by what was given to her, says she wants to do the same for others.
Mahsa has more than 300 hours of community involvement and volunteer work. That time was spent cleaning up parks and lakes, working as the planning commissioner for the City of Camas, and speaking at events to promote women in STEM. “These events are my favorite,” Mahsa said. “I really enjoy talking to young girls about science and engineering. In the Evergreen School District, we were even able to have this activity where the kids were able to place small plastic trees and stickers where they wanted to see roads.”
Mahsa has started taking her 12-year-old daughter to these events, as she believes in their impact on the lives of young women. “We need to realize, women can do anything,” she said.
Mahsa wants to inspire her daughter just as her own mother inspired her throughout her life. Mahsa was asked who her role model was in life, she then explains, “I had several, but my first was my mom. She is a true leader and is still a leader to this day”. Mahsa describes further that her mother owned her own business where she practiced law, which influenced Mahsa from a young age to dream big.
Today, Mahsa is the kind of woman she looked up to in her younger years. Her abundant skill set, her journey to overcome obstacles in the engineering field, and her commitment to community make her a true “Woman of Vision.” Congratulations, Mahsa!