Celebrating Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day with Nucor Professor Dr. Basak Anameric

As part of National Engineer's Week, today is Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and it provides the opportunity to introduce and get to know Dr. Basak Anameric.

Basak is the Nucor Professor at Montana Tech, where she also serves as a metallurgist and chemical engineer with an additional engineering degree in mining and mineral processing engineering, and has 19 years of experience. Basak is skilled in chemical thermodynamics and kinetics, with emphasis on high-temperature processing, experimental methods development, evaluation of fundamental aspects of reduction and metal-slag interactions, improvement of sustainability attributes, and waste beneficiation. 

basak anameric headshot


What drew you to study Engineering? 

I like puzzles and the feeling of satisfaction when I can solve puzzles. 

Growing up I heard stories from my mom that I was very fast and questioned everything that was happening around me. 

I believe my desire to understand not just what is happening, but why it is happening, how it could be enhanced or stopped, who or what would benefit or get adversely affected by it, and how it could be controlled drew me to study engineering. 

By questioning, and trying to understand what is happening, I can engineer a solution for exciting, ever-changing, and impactful puzzles. 

My mom also told me that I stuffed my pockets with dirt and rocks and that doing my laundry was a nightmare. That should explain why I have been studying metallurgical and materials engineering.  


What inspired you to teach and what led you to join the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University? 



From the youngest age I can remember, I wanted to teach. Being here and being able to be a part of the student's journey is a dream come true. 

One of the objectives I had for graduate school was to be able to teach afterward. Per the recommendation of one of my mentors, right after graduation, I prepared a teaching philosophy statement. I prepared it without an academic job prospect at the time. I revisited my teaching philosophy statement every year. Every revisit taught me quite a bit about myself. For example, I understand and appreciate the value of industrial experience and share this experience and the problems faced, in the classroom setting to get the students ready for their future lives and promote critical thinking. 

The other faculty in the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University share my opinions and guide their instructions and research for industry-relevant applications. The theory is great, but being able to learn in the classroom how the theory can be used to solve industrial problems is empowering. 

What is your favorite part of teaching? Do you have a specific memory or memories that stand out? 

“If I knew what I would be doing now, I would have paid more attention to what I was learning then” (David Englund, colleague and friend). 

I share my friend’s sentiment. I believe my education and my background provided me with a toolset, when I am faced with situations as such, I have the foundation and I know where else to look and how to obtain and process the information I need to move forward and discover more.

I believe I am helping to provide some of this toolset to the students. As they excel in this career, I look forward to hearing about their success and accomplishments and being proud of them.  

What do you feel is unique about the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University? 

“Engineering is not a spectator sport, it is best enjoyed as a team” (Harold Kokal, colleague and friend). 

The quote from my friend describes the teaching, learning, and growing environment at the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University. The small class sizes, the faculty’s desire, and the ability to connect and relate to the student's needs make the education students get a team sport/activity. 

What are your hopes for the growth and future of the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University? 

I am grateful for Nucor’s collaboration with the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at Montana Technological University, and their contribution to my position. Iron and steel have by far the highest production and use rates among all metals. The demand and the growth of the industry will require highly qualified engineers. I am looking forward to helping introduce our students to the fantastically diverse world of iron and steel. 

And establish research projects that would aid the industry in becoming more resilient as the transition to carbon-neutral manufacturing is underway. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 


I adore everything about my kids and family. I love sharing discoveries as we camp and hike. 

I enjoy cheering for my kids (Alaina, Adalie, Oliver, and Elmer) as they swim (or anything they choose to do). 

I like sharing Rosie and Maple’s (Great Pyrenees) friendship.

I appreciate sharing a life with Jack. 

In my spare time, I favor dancing, crocheting, beading, glasswork, basket making, … anything I can get creative with. 

What would be your advice to girls pursuing a degree in Engineering? 

Some of the non-constructive triggers I have received throughout my career included hearing “No you are a woman and cannot do what this job requires”, “Were you taught the same way, you are from another country after all”, and “May I speak with the male engineer? I am sure he is more versed in the subject”. It is correct, I am a woman, and I was born and raised in Ankara, Turkey. 

When I picture myself as an engineer, I do not just see myself as a woman from another country. I see myself as a competent engineer, (i) who loves to teach, study, and explore, (ii) who has experience in working in industrial settings and appreciates continuous improvement, (iii) who enjoys problem-solving, has a passion for thermodynamics and kinetics, and likes to innovate and imagine new means, (iv) who likes to work in laboratory settings, and (v) who is a good contributor in project teams.

Seeing is believing. I would not have been able to picture myself with all the traits I have mentioned here (and more) if the girls and women who came before me did not exist and if I did not see them.

My advice to the young ladies pursuing a degree in Engineering is to have the courage and credence to be able to (i) draw their picture of an engineer, (ii) fill it with all traits that suit them and are unique to them, and (iii) allow for this picture to evolve as they grow and know better. 

My engineer picture has been evolving. You can see one of the latest changes, interpreted by a very talented artist and my son Oliver Meric Grochowski. I am loving this change with a smile (as shown in the picture) and inviting all the ladies who would like to study and be a part of the wonderful world of engineering, to please join us. We would love to see you. 




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