The first woman to lead an IIT is Dr. Preeti Aghalayam. Discover her motivational tale here.

The first woman to serve as campus director at an IIT is Dr. Preeti Aghalayam. She will serve as IIT Madras Zanzibar’s first female Director-in-Charge. At IIT Madras, Dr. Preeti holds a professorial position in the Department of chemical engineering. 

“The Zanzibar Campus of the IIT Madras will be located on the Zanzibar Island, off the East African mainland and is being planned as a unique and game-changing educational partnership between India and Zanzibar-Tanzania,” the top academic institution stated in a news release.

Preeti Aghalayam said it is “such a big honor” to be the first woman to lead an IIT. “I am an IIT Madras alumnus, and achieving something this significant for the university and the nation is such a great honor. As a part of the IIT Madras delegation, we saw that women make up a sizable portion of their side every time we visited Zanzibar. Therefore, it was crucial that we approach this thoughtfully, Aghalayam explained.

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Aghalayam graduated from IIT Madras with a BTech in mechanical engineering in 1991. She attended the University of Rochester in New York to pursue an MS in Chemical Engineering after receiving her BTech. 

Aghalayam attended the University of Massachusetts for her Ph.D. in 1996 after receiving her MS. She has also held positions as faculty at IIT Bombay and postdoctoral researcher at MIT, Cambridge.

Preeti blogs as well as running marathons. She has written numerous articles alongside other professors on topics including modeling the impacts of inlet manifold design on diesel oxidation catalytic converter performance and the effects of urea injection non-uniformities on SCR performance using CFD.

Dr. Aghalaya has also received recognition from the Principal Scientific Advisor’s office as one of the 75 Women in STEM.