Shaghik Atakaramians

Shaghik Atakaramians - 2018 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Research Fellow - ARC DECRA
Institute of Photonics and Optical Science
The University of Sydney, Australia

Shaghik Atakaramians

Country of Birth: Iran
Country of Residence: Australia
Educational Background: BSc, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering


My father and grandfather, who were my inspiration, were mechanical and structural engineers. I always dreamed of having a career like them. I was also fascinated to learn more about satellites, antennae, and how they operate. Therefore, when it came to decide, I chose to pursue my undergraduate studies in electrical engineering. There I realized, this was a path less travelled by women and I made a vow to realize my dream.

I am an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Awardee (ARC-DECRA). I work on the terahertz (THz) part of the electromagnetic spectrum, one of the least explored parts. I am interested in developing compact THz photonic devices for real world application via exploiting recent developments in material systems including metamaterials and photonic structures. I also lecture undergraduate courses and co-supervise and coach undergraduate and PhD students.

Generating high quality outcome to stay competitive in the research field while having a young family has been my biggest challenge so far. I have realized that relying on my own strengths and leveraging my existing collaborations while investing in new ones positively impacts my research quality. This is possible simply because through my expanded network of people I am able to reach beyond my own limits and access unlimited ideas.

I learned, although rather late, to be brave and to ask for what I want with proper reasoning and justification. I would like to encourage girls or women to do the same, and pursue their goals and dreams. If you are passionate about a career in STEM and you know you can make a difference then dive into it, no matter how challenging it is. There are plenty of hidden opportunities in each challenge. To discover these opportunities one needs to get uncomfortable by embracing change and taking the initiative. Willingness, dedication and perseverance are the secrets for success.

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