University of Sydney: Empowering a Better Future – India Education | Latest Education News | World Education News

The door to Rameen Malik’s family home has always been open: a light left on, a hot meal provided and a comfortable bed to sleep in for those in need.

“I always saw people coming in and out of my house,” she recalls fondly. “In my family, it’s all about giving back in any way possible.”

Malik credits his confidence and inspiration to his childhood in Lakemba, a western suburb of Sydney. With family roots in Pakistan, her community played a vital role in her upbringing. Like a stone thrown into a puddle, causing a ripple effect, Malik learned that your actions matter and the opportunities presented to you should always benefit your community.

She has taken this approach throughout her life and has dedicated her work in renewable energy to improving her community. From an early age, Malik associated a reliable source of energy with a sense of security and comfort. As she explains, “the stories of the women in my life have influenced my relationship with the resource and energy sector.”
Malik recounts how his aunt – a medical worker – distributes drops of oral polio vaccine to children across Pakistan, struggling to store them without proper refrigeration technology. Amid rising temperatures in Pakistan, another aunt single-handedly spearheaded a solar power initiative on her farm. As our climate changes and temperatures rise, this amplifies the gap between those who have resources and those who do not. For Malik, it is a fact that touches closely. “Growing up, there were often difficulties paying the electric bill, the water bill or the rent during the increasingly hot summers.”

During his final years of high school, Malik’s family received the devastating news that a close family friend had died of heat stroke during one of the most common heat waves and the more brutal in Pakistan. At that profound and crucial moment, Malik struggled with the idea that the loss of her family could have been avoided with access to an electrical system that could withstand unprecedented summer temperatures.

Rameen with her parents side by side at the University of Sydney Quadrangle wearing a black graduation gown and cap.
Malik and his parents at his graduation ceremony.

When it came time to decide what and where to study, she looked to her family and how their lives had interacted with energy and climate. This “duality of electricity,” as she calls it, motivated her to better understand how technology could be used as a tool for social equity. For Malik, an engineering degree would allow him to innovate toward a more equitable resource sector, while a law degree would strengthen his goal of social justice.

The following year, Malik was keen to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a bachelor’s degree in law. Aware of the financial difficulties she faced in college, Malik applied for a philanthropically funded scholarship at the Faculty of Engineering.

From the moment the phone rang to tell her that she had succeeded, Malik knew how to seize all the opportunities that presented themselves to her. “When I found out, I felt a wave of relief,” says Malik. “This scholarship allowed me to work less and focus on my studies – it gave me confidence in my abilities to excel as much as my peers and the chance to participate in activities outside the classroom.”

Malik’s studies have taken her to Samoa to investigate how engineering could help taro farmers increase their seasonal incomes, and to the Torres Strait Islands to better understand the impact of climate change on the health and well-being of the community – all before returning home to the local girls’ high school. to share its story through hands-on engineering workshops.

Opportunities like this – for students like me – who come from hard-working immigrant communities, mean more than the amount of money we receive.
Rameen Malik
Malik wants young women considering engineering studies or applying for scholarships to realize their worth. “I want her to see someone wearing a hijab who’s studied engineering, and I want her to know there’s a place for her,” she says. “If you stay true to who you are and what you’re passionate about, then you’ll get there.”

Seven years later, Malik – a self-directed and determined graduate – was named an Anne Wexler Fulbright Scholar in Public Policy for 2022. She will soon be flying to the United States to study a master’s degree in technology and policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT). Here, Malik aims to take a multidisciplinary look at the transition to a low-emission electricity sector, with a focus on emerging energy technologies and data-driven policymaking. But her eyes remain on her home and her community – she intends to one day bring her expertise in energy equity, justice and innovation to Australia’s energy policies.

To the donor who supported her throughout her undergraduate studies, Malik is immensely grateful. “I’m so proud to have been an equity scholarship recipient. Opportunities like this – for students like me – who come from hard-working immigrant communities, mean more than the amount of money we receive. I have no doubt that where I am today is in part because of my donor’s investment in me.

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