Virtual conference on women in STEM


Aligarh : Inspirational women scientists and academicians spoke on the innate differences between the sexes with respect to scientific ability and called for the entrance of women into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields in greater numbers in the virtual mini-conference on, ‘Breaking the Bias’ of the Indo-US APJ Abdul Kalam STEM Education and Research Center of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Ohio State University (OSU) in collaboration with International Society of Muslim Women in Science (ISMWS).

An-Nisa, an e-magazine named by Dr Nida Rehmani—which celebrates women in STEM fields was also released in the e-conference. A joint effort of STEM Education and Research Center, AMU and ISMWS, this magazine features messages of OSU Vice Provost, Prof Gil Latz and all OSU and AMU Directors of the STEM Center. STEM Center Co-Directors, Prof S N Nahar and Prof F Arjmand are the Chief Editor and Editor respectively.

The Chief Guest, Dr Hashima Hassan (Deputy Program Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope at the NASA Headquarters) reflected on her experiences and her key role in NASA’s recent space missions.

She spoke about her journey from AMU to NASA headquarters.

“My student life at AMU and the academic credentials gained at the university helped me attain a prestigious scholarship to pursue higher studies in Nuclear Science at the University of Oxford. I also attended the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai for a post-doc and worked at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai before reaching the United States on a US Council Fellowship”, said Dr Hashima.

She added: Like many Indians at that time, I landed at the shores of New York with university degrees, wits and a leap of faith before finally realising my dream of working with NASA—an opportunity that arose in 1994 when a job for a visiting senior scientist was advertised. Although it was a two-year job, I found working at NASA Headquarters so exhilarating and rewarding that I stayed on”.

Prof S N Nahar, Prof Somaya Saad (NRIAG, Director of Kottamia Observatory, Egypt), Prof F Arjmand (AMU), Prof Subuhi Khan (AMU), Prof Fatma Azmi (Al-Azhar University, Egypt) Dr Yusra Zaidi (Augusta University, USA), Alvia Farheen (President, ISMWS Student’s Chapter, AMU) spoke on objectives of ISMWS.

The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020 awardee, Dr BushraAteeq (IIT Kanpur) motivated students to join STEM studies.

Prof Farukh Arjmand discussed her research interests in synthesis of metallo-drugs for cancer chemotherapy.

Prof QudsiaTehsin (Department of Zoology, AMU) and Dr Faiza Abassi (Director, HRDC, AMU) explained about how studies and research in STEM fields hold the key to the economic future.

Directors of the STEM Center, Prof Anil Pradhan and Prof Tauheed Ahmed and Co- Directors, Prof S N Nahar and Prof Farukh Arjmand delivered the welcome address.

On the occasion, Dr Hala (NSIT, USA) and Dr Swaleha Naseem gave the certificate and cash prize of US $ 200 to Alvia Farheen for social work during Covid pandemic.



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