Volunteer leaders bring their knowledge to bear in promoting program initiatives, implementing long-term planning strategies, and helping GW students attain their goals. Their efforts show the highest dedication to GW’s past and future. Gazelle Hashemian, MS ’97, vice chair of the SEAS National Advisory Council, shares why she supports GW and how SEAS is making history:
What’s your affiliation with GW?
I graduated from GW School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) back in 1997 with a master’s in telecommunications. Currently, I’m serving the school as a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) as a vice chair.
How was your GW experience?
The foundation that it gave me was fantastic! As I always tell incoming or prospective engineering students, a GW education gives you instant credibility, specifically in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program.
Why did you get involved as a volunteer?
I’m a big advocate of education, across the globe and in all facets, from developing nations to highly established organizations. My husband (Sassan Kimiavi, BS ’85, MS ’87, DSc ’98) and I have enjoyed giving back to the community to benefit education, especially for women and girls. One of our goals is to give back to an already fine university like the George Washington University, help enhance it, and take it to the next level.
What motivated you to give to GW?
I give to GW because it has dramatically enhanced my career; it’s made my professional and personal journey more interesting.
I also choose to give to GW because research and development is extremely important to me. It’s our future, and I know SEAS shares this focus. Attracting, supporting, and encouraging women in the STEM fields is also very important to me. As a female engineer in the workforce, I have noticed a very slow rise of female students and STEM professionals. I am proud that GW is in the top five universities in the nation with regards to women in the STEM fields and female students overall in SEAS, and I am proud to play a role in that success.
What impact do you hope your gift makes?
In short, I hope that my contribution to GW will make a difference. I hope it can continue the school’s progress, enhance research and development, and help the school continue to attract and support female students. And so far, it’s been wonderful supporting an organization that values research and development so much in the STEM program but also values female students.
What would you say to someone considering making a gift to GW?
I would—and do—advise my friends and family or any potential donor to consider GW as part of their philanthropic plans. I suggest they start with small steps. What interests them? What motivates them? Take look at the variety of programs that are already established at GW, from the engineering school to the Elliott School, from the Columbian College to the medical and law schools. There is definitely a program that can hit home. See what they can do to benefit that specific program or school. Even if they start small, I think they’ll be surprised how meaningful it is.
What does it mean to you to “make history” at SEAS?
Overall, “making history” means making a difference. I think we’ve already made history over the last 5 years by just enhancing the SEAS program. I have seen the progression, not only the academic improvement but also providing amazing facilities. Science and Engineering Hall adds phenomenal workspace and a wonderful opportunity for incoming students to focus on R&D in fantastic laboratories, and I hope we continue down that path.
I am Gazelle Hashemian, alumna and vice chair of the SEAS NAC, and I am making history.