Aligarh: Inspirational women scientists and scholars spoke about innate gender differences in scientific abilities and called for the entry of women into the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics ( STEM) in greater numbers during the virtual mini-conference on , ‘Breaking the Bias’ of the Indo-American Center for Education and Research APJ Abdul Kalam STEM of the Muslim University of Aligarh (AMU) and the Ohio State University (OSU) in collaboration with the International Society of Muslim Women in Science (ISMWS).
An-Nisa, an online magazine named by Dr. Nida Rehmani that celebrates women in STEM fields, was also published during the online conference. A joint effort of the Center for STEM Education and Research, AMU, and ISMWS, this magazine features messages from the OSU Vice Rector, Professor Gil Latz, and all OSU Principals and the AMU of the STEM center. The Co-Directors of the STEM Center, Prof. SN Nahar and Prof. F Arjmand are the Editor-in-Chief and Editor-in-Chief respectively.
Keynote guest Dr. Hashima Hassan (Associate Program Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope at NASA Headquarters) discussed his experiences and his key role in NASA’s recent space missions.
She talked about her trip from AMU to NASA Headquarters.
“My student life at AMU and the academic degrees obtained at the university helped me to obtain a prestigious scholarship to pursue postgraduate studies in nuclear sciences at the University of Oxford. I also attended the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai for a post-doctorate and worked at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Mumbai before reaching the United States on an American Council fellowship,” Dr. Hashima said.
She added: Like many Indians at that time, I landed on the shores of New York with college degrees, wits and a leap of faith before finally realizing my dream of working with NASA – a opportunity that arose in 1994 when a job for a Senior Visiting Scientist was advertised. Even though it was a two-year job, I found working at NASA Headquarters so exhilarating and rewarding that I stayed.”
Prof SN 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 about the objectives of the ISMWS.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award Winner 2020, Dr. Bushra Ateeq (IIT Kanpur) motivated students to join STEM studies.
Prof. Farukh Arjmand discussed his research interests in the synthesis of metallo-drugs for cancer chemotherapy.
Professor Qudsia Tehsin (Department of Zoology, AMU) and Dr Faiza Abassi (Director, HRDC, AMU) explained how studies and research in STEM fields hold the key to the economic future.
STEM Center Directors Prof. Anil Pradhan and Prof. Tauheed Ahmed and Co-Directors Prof. SN Nahar and Prof. Farukh Arjmand gave the welcome speech.
On the occasion, Dr. Hala (NSIT, USA) and Dr. Swaleha Naseem presented the certificate and cash prize of US$200 to Alvia Farheen for her social work during the Covid pandemic.