Class of 2017
Ever since she was a child, Maysam Bantan dreamed of studying abroad. Her parents wanted her to be a doctor, but she had her sights set on a career uncommon for females in her native Saudi Arabia: engineering. Her dream to become an engineer led her to the United States and MSOE. Not only is Maysam pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering, she has taken on leadership roles and gained a passion for volunteering.
The engineering profession worldwide is dominated by males whether it is the United States or Saudi Arabia. At MSOE, Maysam founded the Saudi Students Club where she served as president for two years. She runs meetings, plans events and brings people together. In her culture, females in leadership positions are often outnumbered by males, but “It’s actually changing now,” said Maysam. “Saudi women are now taking many leadership positions which in fact influences me and encourages me to be one of those Saudi female pioneers.”
Maysam has also volunteered at organizations throughout the city of Milwaukee. Along with 48 other MSOE students in 2015, the “MSOE Engineers” team participated in 18 different volunteer events and completed 77 hours of volunteering in one month—an exceptional effort for busy MSOE students which earned them a first place award from “Us to U.S.” This non-profit organization encourages Saudi students studying abroad in the U.S. to become active individuals in their communities. MSOE Saudi students represented the largest number of volunteers and completed the most activities during UsDay15, the organization’s annual volunteer festival.
Among many things, they provided meals for the homeless, cleaned up the Milwaukee River, taught young students about engineering, and painted Girl Scouts’ classrooms. “Being a leader in Us to U.S. has been one of my most valuable experiences. I have developed my leadership skills, learned how to communicate with volunteers from all over the world, and learned how to work with people who all have different backgrounds.” One of the most precious things she has learned while in America is the many ways one can give back to their community. She has realized having knowledge or just being willing to volunteer can often outweigh money. “I admit it is challenging to organize your time between your studies and leading a team of 48 people, but when I see my team members are enjoying the volunteering work, I feel so happy and relieved.”
Maysam’s senior design project is to design a high fidelity neo-natal training manikin. Her team’s project is intended to help nursing students, nurses and physicians diagnose regular and irregular heart and breath sounds which can help reduce misdiagnoses. Her major and passion for helping people truly go hand in hand.
She also has an entrepreneurial spirit. When she was 17 years old, Maysam started a small business making handcrafted accessories. “One of my future dreams when I return home is to open my business again, which I stopped temporarily until I finish studying abroad,” she said. “My plan is to develop my professional skills in making jewelry and plated accessories to expand my business.”
Maysam recommends MSOE to hard-working students. Those who have the drive to put forth the effort and have passion for learning quickly find a home at MSOE. The faculty and staff have helped her jump over hurdles that most MSOE students don’t face. When she arrived, Maysam needed to improve her English language skills, and today she is fluent. She also likes the small community environment at MSOE, and appreciates the small class sizes. “I know my professors and they know me. All professors teach differently so, I have the opportunity to learn their different styles and take the professors who best suit my learning styles.”