The Molecular Foundry is proudly hosting a Tunisian researcher participating in TechWomen, an international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department that connects early-to mid-career STEM professionals from Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East with their counterparts in the United States.
To kick off their three-week visit stay in the San Francisco Bay area, a segment of the cohort of TechWomen – whose research interests range from water sustainability to applied mathematics and robotics – received a crash course on the breadth and depth of Berkeley Lab’s multidisciplinary approach to Big Science during tours of the Molecular Foundry, the Advanced Light Source, FLEXLAB, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).
The Lab has hosted TechWomen participants since the program started in 2011. This year, more than 3,500 women applied for the program, vying for coveted “emerging leader” mentorships at leading companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. Of the 100 who were accepted, nearly 10 percent listed Berkeley Lab – the only national lab “host company” – as their first choice.
The Lab’s 2017 cohort consists of six emerging leaders hailing from Cameroon, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. The TechWomen participants are working on impactful projects alongside professional mentors from the Computational Research Division, the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area, the Energy Technologies Area, the Molecular Foundry, and NERSC.
Foundry researcher Teresa Williams is mentoring participant Nouha Ben Massaoud during her stay at Berkeley Lab. Nouha is currently a PhD student in Materials Chemistry who recently filed a patent application for a novel synthetic procedure for the synthesis of zeolites from a native Tunisian clay. She hopes to develop these materials towards a commercial scale, and eventually start her own business in Tunisia.