Egyptian, born in Zimbabwe, grew up in Zambia. There’s a little bit of Namibia in there as well.
I studied Chemical Engineer at the British University in Egypt. I also majored in Environmental Engineering during my undergraduate studies. I have an MSc in Renewable Energy also from the British University in Egypt. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Edinburgh.
I look at technological solutions to climate change in my PhD, especially Negative Emission Technologies (processes that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere). I am building and developing a Direct Air Capture absorber in the lab. I am involved in public outreach and can be caught at any time talking about climate change and its solutions to anyone and everyone. I also tutor undergraduate engineering courses and am working on becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
I've always enjoyed the STEM subjects at school. I was always representing my school at science fairs, maths challenges, and design competitions and have a few awards to show for it. Growing up in Zambia, I was always aware of climate change and know first-hand its effects on people’s lives. I wanted to study something that could help me counter climate change and/or plastic pollution through my love for science. Engineering felt like a natural choice. My parents and teachers have always been very supportive. In fact, my parents always stood up for me. They wouldn’t stand for any of the stereotypes of what a girl should/shouldn’t be.
I would say rudeness, some people are just plain mean. I can't tell though if it is because I am African, Arab, Muslim, or a woman. There are plenty of untrue stereotypes that people have tried to apply to me and it always adds unnecessary effort to disprove the stereotype before proving myself as an engineer. I think we have an unfair starting point.
My background made me who I am and it is the reason I am so passionate about working on climate change solutions. I have a deep appreciation and connection with Mother Nature. I believe that having a mixed cultural background has opened my mind to other people and made more accepting of others. I always try to understand where someone is coming from which is something that I find beneficial in the climate sphere. My parents deserve 100% of the credit.
Visibility! African scholars who have a platform must use them. Also, allyship, mentorship and support. I think every generation has a responsibility towards the next generation. We have to be the role models and mentors that we didn’t have.
Your persistence is invaluable, know your worth [and talents and skills] and be stubborn with asserting it. Work on improving yourself always. Self-care is everything, you won't be able to make the change you want to see in the world if you are broken.