Dr. Neslihan Alp, P.E., Department Head of Engineering Management and Technology and the Director of Graduate Programs for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, was one of nine women honored at the 12th annual UnBought and UnBossed Awards ceremony on April 13.
The UnBought and UnBossed Awards are presented by Girls Inc. of Chattanooga to honor local women whose career achievements or community service have made an impact on the lives of Hamilton County girls and women. Honorees are chosen annually from community nominations by girls participating in the Girls Inc. Women’s History Project.
“I was really surprised and honored when I first found out I was selected as one of the honorees. UnBought and UnBossed is a great way to recognize ladies who have made significant contributions to the community,” Alp said.
Alp has been faculty at UTC since 1999 and served as Department Head since 2006. She also served as the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science between 2014 and 2016; she was the first female Engineering Dean not just at UTC, but in the state of Tennessee.
“I’ve served in different civic and professional organizations in our community to support young kids for the STEM field. I love teaching STEM. I try to always keep learning and share the best of my knowledge of Math, Physics, and Chemistry. I worked briefly in the private sector, but returned to my first love: teaching students to understand, not be scared, and to think positively about their future,” Alp said.
The UnBought and UnBossed Awards were named for the phrase coined by Shirley Chisholm during her historic run for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. As part of the Women’s History Project, girls learn about the history of women’s rights in the United States, about Shirley Chisholm, and the traits of leaders. This is the basis for the girls to select an honoree that inspires them. Community members submit nominations of women who, through their career achievement and/or community involvement, have made a significant impact on the lives of women and girls, and then the nine high school students are tasked with choosing the honorees based entirely on their biographies, without knowing the mentors’ names.
Alp’s mentee, Komal Patri, is an 8th grader from GPS who wants to pursue her education in engineering or computer science. Patri is currently working on her science project, coming to UTC to talk to faculty about their research and profession, and visiting classes, which help her to understand the College life.
“I’m very close to my mentee and trying to help her in order to achieve her goals,” Alp said. “This is a great program for assisting girls who are interested in higher education. I’m truly honored to serve as a mentor to one of the Girls Inc. girls.”
The UnBought and UnBossed luncheon raises funds for Girls Inc. programs that equip girls to get an education and pursue career goals despite obstacles they may need to overcome.