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MennatAllah Labib

PhD student at the University of Edinburgh

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Find what you love and go for it.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

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.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

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.

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

Getting into my dream PhD programme, researching something I am passionate about with people I absolutely enjoy working with. I would like my younger self to know that it has all worked out nicely so far.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love knowing that my work can make the world a better place. I love the 'detective work' involved, where we are constantly looking for solutions. I love the "lightbulb" moment associated with the detective work.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Find what you love and go for it. Be persistent, 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.

INSPO / FUN FACT

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi