Live from #AAASmtg in Seattle: follow our award-winning women in science

5 researchers from developing countries are preparing to accept the 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for their work in engineering, innovation and technology

Dr. Chao Mbogo, Dean and computer science researcher at Kenya Methodist University, is one of 5 winners of the 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World.

SEATTLE — Their stories are as fascinating as their science.

Five women scientists have traveled here from Bangladesh, Guatamala, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Yemen to be honored for their outstanding contributions in engineering, innovation and technology.

On Saturday, they will receive OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. Each winner will present her research and talk about the inspiration behind it.

Soon, they will share their stories with their colleagues in the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and the the Elsevier Foundation, who will help them distill their experiences into 5 minute talks.

But for now, they are getting to know each other — and this city known for innovation. Our agenda includes a visit to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to meet with their people in science and policy.

Live broadcasting and updates

We will be posting updates here through Saturday, February 15. In addition, you can follow us on social media:

Meet the winners

Quote by Sumia Subrina, PhD, Electrical Engineering (Bangladesh)

Samia Subrina, PhD — Electrical Engineering (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

Dr. Samia Subrina is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Her  research focuses on the modeling of thermal and electronic transport in nanoscale materials and the applications of these materials in nanoscale devices. She is particularly interested in nanomaterials with high thermal conductivity, such as graphene (a form of carbon), that make it useful in heat mitigation. Fast, high-performance electronic devices tend to suffer from overheating, which causes performance degradation and shortens the life of the devices. Use of high heat-carrying materials in electronic device design can provide a solution to this issue.

Read more

Susana Arrechea, PhD — Chemical Engineering (Guatamala)

Susana Arrechea, PhD — Chemical Engineering (Guatamala)

University of San Carlos of Guatamala

In her research, Dr. Susana Arrechea is focusing on the potential industrial and environmental applications of materials such as nanoparticles, nanotubes, and graphene, which can be employed in creating more sustainable building materials, in water treatment, and in solar devices and other renewable energy solutions. In addition to contributing to the development of nanotechnology in Guatemala, she is also involved in improving solar electrification, connectivity, and digital and STEM literacy in schools in rural Guatemala in partnership with New Sun Road and Microsoft.

Read more

Chao Charity Mbogo, PhD — Computer Science (Kenya)

Chao Charity Mbogo, PhD — Computer Science (Kenya)

Kenya Methodist University

In her current research, Dr. Chao Mbogo is focusing on supporting students in resource-constrained environments to learn to program using mobile devices. Computer programming is a core course in most IT-related degrees. The ubiquity of mobile phones makes them valuable tools for students to practice programming on their phones. However, limitations of mobile phones, such as small screens and small keypads, impede their use as typical programming environments. Dr. Chao is designing supporting techniques to enable learning of computer programming on such limited devices.

Read more

Champika Ellawala Kankanamge, PhD – Civil and Environmental Engineering (Sri Lanka)

Champika Ellawala Kankanamge, PhD – Civil and Environmental Engineering (Sri Lanka)

University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka

Dr. Champika Ellawala Kankanamge, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka, works on ecosystem conservation and pollution control. Her current research focuses on controlling invasive macrophytes (aquatic plants) in river ecosystems by restoring shade and encouraging the natural resistance of native plants to invasive species. By shedding light on the behavior of aquatic plants in response to changes in environmental conditions, her research will help to control ecosystem degradation. She also works on assessing pollution levels in aquatic ecosystems. Specifically, she is studying the levels of heavy metals in edible fish and shellfish in Sri Lanka’s Batticaloa lagoon — the main source of seafood for the local community.

Read more

Fathiah Zakham, PhD — Bioengineering and Microbiology (Yemen)

Fathiah Zakham, PhD — Bioengineering and Microbiology (Yemen)

Hodeidah University, Yemen

Dr. Fathiah Zakham applies biotechnology and bioengineering to the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis and other emerging infectious diseases. Her main goal is to develop rapid, accurate and cheap tools for the detection of the causal agent of tuberculosis and the control of drug-resistance TB strains, which are dramatically increasing, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Conventional culture methods for laboratory diagnosis and drug resistance testing require several weeks; the molecular approach is a good alternative in poor infrastructure settings. In addition to her work on TB, she is also using metagenomics technology to identify new zoonotic viral pathogens emerging on the Arabian peninsula, including hemorrhagic fevers. Dr. Zakham is working to implement the appropriate molecular tests for the diagnosis and surveillance of these infectious diseases.

Read more


Exploring Seattle and its vibrant science scene

Our visit to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus

In the atrium overlooking the "living room" of the Gates Foundation. Fathiah Zakham, PhD, Assistant Researcher and Lecturer at Hodeidah University in Yemen and winner of a 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award, talks with our tour guide, Debra Burke, Project Coordinator for the Gates Foundation finance team. (Photo by Alison Bert)

The Spheres, where Amazon employees can work surrounded by plants from around the world

The Troll Under the Bridge — one of the public sculptures in the funky Freemont neighborhood

At the Pike Place Market


Prepping for the big day

How to tell the world about your science in 5 minutes

In 6 steps, OWSD President Dr. Jennifer Thomson shows how to give an impactful acceptance speech to the award winners. Jennifer is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


The award ceremony

Dr. Fathiah Zakham talks about her research at the award ceremony.  (Photo by Alison Bert)

Dr. Susana Arrechea and her fellow awardees on stage. (Photo by Alison Bert) Dr. Jalel Sager, the husband of Dr. Susana Arrechea, watches the ceremony with their 4-month-old daugher, Aya. (Photo by Alison Bert)The winners of the 2020 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Women Scientists in the Developing World (Photo by Alison Bert)

Contributors


Written by

Alison Bert, DMA

Written by

Alison Bert, DMA

As Executive Editor of Strategic Communications at Elsevier, Dr. Alison Bert works with contributors around the world to publish daily stories for the global science and health communities. Previously, she was Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier Connect, which won the 2016 North American Excellence Award for Science & Education.

Alison joined Elsevier in 2007 from the world of journalism, where she was a business reporter and blogger for The Journal News, a Gannett daily newspaper in New York. In the previous century, she was a classical guitarist on the music faculty of Syracuse University. She received a doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, was Fulbright scholar in Spain, and studied in a master class with Andrés Segovia.

Written by

Domiziana Francescon

Written by

Domiziana Francescon

Domiziana Francescon serves as the Elsevier Foundation’s Program Officer and is a strong supporter of the company’s Corporate Responsibility program. Domiziana obtained a master’s degree in Book and Digital Media Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, with a specialization in Publishing Studies. She grew up in Italy.

Written by

Maha Rhannam

Written by

Maha Rhannam

Maha Rhannam works as an intern for the Elsevier Foundation. Maha obtained a master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Amsterdam. Prior to that, she served as a sustainability analyst for Vigeo-Eiris, a CSR rating agency. She also has extensive experience in research, having worked as a research assistant on various projects related to education in sub-Saharan Africa. She grew up in Morocco and is based in Amsterdam.

Live from #AAASmtg in Seattle: follow our award-winning women in science
Study finds gender bias in invited editorials
Research 2030 podcast: ‘Don’t blame it on the pipeline: Gender disparity in invited commentaries’

Comments


comments powered by Disqus