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National Engineers Week: Shweta Dabetwar

Professor Shweta Dabetwar
Professor Shweta Dabetwar

In celebration of National Engineers Week, UA Little Rock is highlighting some of the university’s most promising engineers and engineering students.

Tell us about yourself?

I am Shweta Dabetwar, an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering program at the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology. I joined in Fall 2023 as a faculty member, and I hope to contribute to this university’s legacy. I graduated from Texas Tech University with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in December 2020. After that, I was at the University of Massachusetts Lowell as a postdoctoral research associate. I am an advocate of women in STEM, and I strive to work for at least moving the barriers out of the way just a little bit during my career.

Why do you think UA Little Rock would be a good fit for future engineering students?

The most striking thing about UA Little Rock is the people! Everyone I have met so far, I can only see passion for students’ success and a lot of encouragement. Despite spending years in academia, they still have high levels of motivation and enthusiasm for their students. Everyone is always willing to learn new techniques to implement in the classroom. All the faculty members are always focused on making education relevant to current times and demands. I think that is a beautiful thing. Everyone cares about their students, hence UA Little Rock is a good fit!

What do you like most about the field?

I am in mechanical engineering, and my focus is artificial intelligence (AI) and non-destructive testing. I am going to expand into biomedical sciences soon as well. The flexibility that mechanical engineering offers to contribute to just about any field is amazing. I have even worked with photogrammetry in the past, and possibilities are endless! The way AI is changing lives in a good sense is just fascinating to see. There is nothing that I do not like about this field.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

My father is an engineer, and I think that impacted me from my early childhood. I have seen him come up with solutions to problems quickly and logically. I have always believed that engineers are problem solvers and I wanted to do that. I wanted to work on building aircrafts and learn how things actually work. My curiosity probably got me into this field when I think about it.

What is your most memorable experience in the engineering field?

I think my Ph.D. was the most memorable experience. The research question I had undertaken was the most challenging problem I was trying to solve back then. The fact that I was able to solve such an important problem and was able to incorporate AI was a great feeling. My advisor was very happy with me and said that he was proud of me. It felt good hearing that!

Do you have any advice for prospective students who want to major in the field?

I just want to say, “Go for it,” and the possibilities are endless. It is a difficult decision even to choose a major at such a young age, so at least do your research and read about the curriculum and what is going to be in front of you. Also, make sure you know the kind of job opportunity that awaits you after your degree. Once you have some knowledge, the decision won’t seem too difficult. It is always a good idea to know the path of the next 10 steps you are taking. You should like what you are doing, and that can only be known through researching about the field.