Amal Amin Ibrahim Shendi

Associate professor of polymer technology/nanotechnology at National research center

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You should have a dream, dream big and high.

What do you do?

I am originally chemist getting my PhD on polymer technology/catalysis/organic chemistry from joint scholarship between Ulm university-Germany/Cairo University according to DAAD PhD program. Iam currently associate professor for Polymer technology/nanotechnology at National research center-Egypt.
My Job responsibilities(1) Carrying out research activities, (2)securing grants/fund, (3)making projects, (4)supervising students, teaching, (5)making activities as joining scientific societies, membership in organizations, organizing training/mentorship programs, organizing workshops/conferences, etc. , (6)scientific travels for research visits or conferences .
My field of research: Iam considered myself as materials` scientist where iam interested in preparing functional polymeric materials and nanocomposites which can be used in different industrial application as in Curing agricultural wastes or construction materials or in biomedical applications.
My activities: I have extra science based activities to connect science with society to serve society and increase the impact of science in society where Iam:

1-Founder and chair of women in science without borders initiative which spreads over 48 countries including developed and developing countries.
2-Founder and chair of World forum for women in science which was held twice in Egypt and one in South Africa and one in Brazil
3-Organizer of upcoming international webinars (Saturday science webinars/talks)
3-Cofounder, alumni and former executive committee member of global young academy (GYA)
4-Cofounder and former advisory board member of Egyptian young academy (EYAS)
5-Cofounder and former president of Egyptian society for advanced materials and nanotechnology
6-Ex-TWAS young affiliate
7-Member of TWAS-TYAN (network of young scientists of the world academy of sciences)
(please see my attached bio and CV via email)
8-cofounder of upcoming north African research and innovation management association (NARIMA)
8-Others

Why did you choose this field?

In my childhood, I was good student where I used to read a lot in different fields such as science, history including history of science and stories of scientists where I admired with the power of science to change the world positively and peacefully with big impact on the society. So, I had a dream always to be a scientist to change the world with science and what attracted me more was the chemistry as it was the field of my great mentor, role model and scientist as Marie Curie who I considered her as the greatest woman scientist ever who got Nobel prize twice in two different fields (chemistry, physics). So, I studied Chemistry as my favorite fields and afterward, I chose polymer chemistry as industrial applied field can be directed to different applications in visible and more effective ways.
When I decided to get my PhD from outside Egypt, it was peculiar decision where I have conservative family preferred to get married and form family before travelling outside Egypt and fortunately, I got married at that time from my colleague who had similar dreams and got my first baby daughter. So, the period of PhD in Germany was very hard and challenging especially with the accompany of my little family with little daughter in the presence of cultural differences with big challenges. I was working very hard especially when my husband started his studies at another city where we were working continuously and tirelessly to manage with our work and with our little daughter. Even on my return to Egypt, I returned the day before USA terrorism attacks in 2011 where new period/age began in the world where more isolation, hatred and accusation towards different parties in the world including Muslims. That is why I see science as the only logic way to change.
Briefly, I suffered a lot during my career to achieve work/life balance but with great pleasure where I have two daughters but I feel always proud when they consider me as role model.
Please see my answer in question 2.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

All my achievements I did not expect how hard the way to do them, however with much patience, working hard and perseverance, I managed to do a lot but I expect to do more for science and my field specifically and for science & society for the entire world. So, I could say, dreaming is not enough but with working hard, you can do a lot. I could with much patience and very hard work to work in my favorite field with several scientific visits including scientific missions/projects and attending high level conferences around the world where I visited tens of countries tens of times. That in addition to several activities which I imagined it would be hard but it happened.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM and in science-based fields as science generally is the peaceful logic template tool to change the societies and the entire world away from any other considerations. Accordingly, Iam very interested to connect science, scientists with the society and encourage scientists to have societal commitments in increasing public awareness, increase science literacy, encourage youth to love science and make mutual understanding between policy makers and scientists in favor of sustainable development in addition to the expected share of scientists to solve the urgent problems in society whether locally or globally.
I look forward through my activities and other efforts world wide to connect the world with science, end conflicts and consider science as logic common language and to have one day where science with all its benefits will be for all where science should be for all with all its consequences which could fix the permeant problems everywhere especially for poor countries. Briefly, science should be for poor and rich on the way to have global real sustainable development.

Best advice for next generation?

I would advise them that
First, you have to know that life is collection of choices, so, if you choose science or anything else, you have to take the complete responsibilities with all sacrifices accordingly. Also, As I said always, you should have a dream, dream big and high. Then, you should work hard to achieve that dream and do not let anyone to dimension your dreams with any reason whatever happens where you deserve better future regardless of your gender or cultural backgrounds. Also, you have to be focused with everyday to do list but become lover for the life, family and friends where your emotions is source of pride not weakness and fuel of your life. Be always proud of being woman and celebrate with any success you achieve and just look forward do not look behind or feel sorry except for lessons to go further and forward. Raise your qualifications always, work on yourself and acquire new experiences and work always for excellence at your capacity but do not forget your life. Try to keep work/life balance where scientist should be human with normal needs as well. Do not be afraid to have family, you deserve that but just manage yourself and your time. Also, move wisely as big time management.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

(Life is not easy for any of us, but what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves; we must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained) Marie Curie

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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