Hazard Girls:
Women in Non-Traditional Fields

Host Emily Soloby, founder of Juno Jones Safety Shoes, interviews women who have successfully broken barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields. These dynamic women share their stories and advice for the next generation. Emily's goal with this podcast series is to show listeners that there are many ways to be successful - and being successful often requires hard work, community, and creativity, even when faced with adversity.


Want to be a guest on Hazard Girls?


Sn5 #5 Ayesha Iftiqhar: Taking Her Love For Physics From The Electronics Lab To The Skatepark

Growing up in a small community in India, Ayesha Iftiqhar saw most of the women in her family getting married and starting a family. When Ayesha read about Kalpana Chawla, an Indian-born American astronaut and mechanical engineer and the first woman of Indian origin to go to space, she said to herself “I can do that”. Seeing someone with whom she could identify reaching such amazing heights lit a fire within Ayesha.  As astronaut Sally Ride said, “If you can see it you can be it.”

At the age of 20 she left India for the first time to pursue her Master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. After graduation she went to work in the engineering field, working on a variety of projects including developing battery systems to replace gas engines in power tools and more. A big part of Ayesha’s work is Ethical Engineering, which focuses on reducing the environmental impact of the projects she works on.

When Ayesha found herself doubting her abilities, also known as Imposter Syndrome, she started working on personal engineering projects outside of her regular job. One of these projects was attaching LED lights to a cloth mask equipped with a proximity sensor. The mask would display a smile if individuals nearby were within 6 feet or a frown in they were less than 6 feet away.

Host Emily Soloby and Ayesha talk about Ayesha’s work in STEM outreach for adults and children, how she identifies with her chosen princess Cinderella in Reinvented Magazine’s Princesses with Powertools 2023 calendar, and how she takes her love for physics from the electronics lab to the skatepark.


Emily Soloby

Emily received her BA in Women’s Studies and JD from Temple University. Early on, she worked as a legal advocate for women in domestic violence cases. After practicing law, Emily began working on the business side of things. She is the co-owner of AAA School of Trucking, a truck and heavy equipment safety training firm, which she has spent the last 10 years growing into a thriving national business through government and military contracting and corporate partnerships.

As an executive in the transportation industry, darting from client meeting to trucking range required safety boots that met her style standards, and when she couldn’t find them anywhere, she created Juno Jones Shoes. Emily trained in shoemaking in Cuernavaca, Mexico and at the Brooklyn Shoe Space, and assembled a powerhouse team of designers, consultants, and industry experts to bring Juno Jones to life. Through Juno Jones Shoes, Emily is fulfilling her dream of not only providing women with safe, stylish footwear options for their jobs but of helping to normalize and empower women in traditionally male-dominated fields.

For more information go to junojonesshoes.com.


Ayesha Iftiqhar

Hi, I’m Ayesha! I was born in India and moved to the US for a Mater’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. I now work full-time as an Electrical Engineer, where I use my skills to solve interesting, meaningful problems. In my professional career, I have designed IOT-connected industrial dishwashers to monitor and minimize water and power consumption, Battery systems for Ryobi tools to replace gas-power and I am currently working on fruit-harvesting robots to address the effects of labor shortages and climate change in agriculture.

Outside of work, I like to combine art and technology to make pretty PCB jewelry that lights up. I also enjoy finding fun ways to solve everyday problems. In Early 2020, I designed a LED mask that changes emotions (smile, frown etc) based on how far a person is standing according to social distancing guidelines. I designed a bookmark that turns into a book light so I could read in bed at night without having to get out of bed to turn off the light. And designed an electronic pomodoro timer that helps me track my productive hours.

I publish all my personal electronic projects in open-source format to help make electrical design and prototyping accessible to all. I hold Intro to Electronics workshops for female and non-binary-identifying middle-school and high-school students.

When I’m not playing with electronics, I take my imposter syndrome and my love for applied physics to the skatepark and practice tricks in ramps and bowls on my purple skates.

special guest photo