#BEHuman: Mohima Ahmed

#BEHuman (Bioengineering Human) is a series that profiles the academics, researchers and students that make up the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College. Our aim is to give you an insight into the ground-breaking work that takes place in the UK’s leading bioengineering department through the eyes of the fantastic bioengineers that are advancing research frontiers, solving life sciences-related problems and creating future leaders.

The next BEHuman to be profiled is Mohima Ahmed, a fourth-year undergraduate student on our Biomedical Engineering (MEng course). Mohima has been recognised for her work with Apps for Good, an open-source technology education movement that partners with schools and learning centres to deliver courses to young people.

How did you become a Bioengineer?
During the summer before year 13, I was still deciding what I wanted to study at university. I was lucky enough to secure a 1-week work experience placement at the Department of Bioengineering at KCL and that’s when the field caught my interest. When I felt like I really became a bioengineer was in my second year of university, where I was a part of a team that designed a squatting apparatus to help Paralympian winner Andrew Mullen train!

What is your proudest professional achievement?
I was named as on of Elle Magazines “30 women under 30” who are changing the world in 2015 alongside the likes of Mhairi Black and Maisie Williams for my work with Apps for Good.

What is your proudest personal achievement?
The last time I undertook any form of strenuous physical activity was probably in year 11 GCSE. Despite this, I managed to climb Mount Snowdon last October for Imperials Charity Week with no training, and casualty free!

How has being a woman shaped, influenced and impacted your career?
Subconsciously, I guess I always had something to prove, and this made me work harder and be more tenacious – no one was going to tell me I couldn’t do something just because I was a girl. I’ve also been fortunate enough to always be surrounded by academic staff who were keen on getting more women involved in STEM, so they helped me in every step of my studies, pushed me to do physics and further maths, even when I wasn’t sure of myself.

How has being a part of the Department of Bioengineering shaped your career?
Studying within our department at Imperial, I realised many things about myself – the first and foremost being that I love collaborative work. There’s nothing more enjoyable than working in a team of like-minded, yet at the same time very diverse, individuals and putting our skills together to create something completely transformative and on set to change the world. Moving forward in my career, I know that’s the kind of place I want to aim for, and to inspire future generations to continue to do so.

What piece of advice would you give a 17-year-old girl that is thinking about studying Bioengineering?
If you’re still unsure of exactly what it is you want to do, Bioengineering is great because we learn a little bit of everything, and then get the chance to further specialise halfway into the degree. We’re the Jack (or Jacqueline!) of all trades. When you do start, make no mistake, it will be hard. But you’re not finding it difficult because you’re a woman or because you’re unintelligent, you’re finding it difficult because everyone else is – yes even that one student who asks mind boggling questions every single lecture. But with determination and a great support system from your course mates and academic staff, it does get better, and perhaps even fun!


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