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Photo Credit - Evelyn Hockstein

Rana Dajani

Professor

Hashemite University

And - Director / founder / social entrepreneur

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You are unique, no one has your DNA! You are special and have something to give the world.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I play five roles so I wear five scarves to represent my roles. I am a mother of four, I am a teacher/educator, I am a scientist in two fields: 1. epigenetics of trauma and building reslience among refugees 2. genetics of ethnic populations in Jordan specifically diabetes. This led me to spearhead the first law in the region to govern stem cell research and therapy. I also teach evolution being one of the few that talk openly about the compatibility of evolution with islam. I am a social enterprenuer, I founded the program "We Love Reading" that started in Jrodan and has spread to 61 countries around the world. the moto is changing mindsets through reading to create changemakers. I am a feminist and human rights activist. I created a program for mentoring of female scientists called three circles of alemat that recieved the PEER award.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

My motto is seeing what everyone sees but thinking what no one has thought. I make observations that pique my curiosity and motivate me to pursue the questions that occur to me. This started when I was young wanting to be a pioneer to discover how molecules and cells work and interact to help humanity. I started with identifying genetically isolated populations in Jordan and now I am working on Syrian refugees in Jordan to understand how trauma impacts them.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

Challenges are ways of learning, rather than obstacles. I take them in my stride as part of my journey so they don’t disappoint me. I learn from them and move forward. I am an optimist. Most importantly I go back and forth between different work to keep the excitement so when my research is at a low I work on a community project.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

Be patient. You will achieve your goal in ways you never imagined. Learn from all your experiences - they provide you with wisdom, perspective and richness. Don’t be scared to try new things. Be humble, admit being wrong and move forward - we are all learning every minute of our lives.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

It is a deep rooted curiosity that can only satisfied by asking questions and following up on them. It is the feeling of elation and reveling in the thrill of discovering how things work that beats any experience - it’s like being on a rollercoaster!

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

You are unique no one has your DNA!

You are special and have something to give the world.

Dream big, imagine, trust yourself, have the confidence to pursue your curosity, nothing is impossible. you can do it if you can dream it.

INSPIRATION

The butterfly effect (Chaos Theory)

You are the butterfly that moves the air one centimeter and that results in change in time and place beyond your wildest dreams.