3 Inspiring Achievements of Young Women of Color

While many of us were simply stressing over algebra homework in our teenage years, Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, Angela Zhang, and Deepika Kurup had much bigger ideas not only for themselves but for our planet as a whole. Here’s the amazing achievements of three young women of color who are shaping what it means to be a woman in STEM.

President Barack Obama listens to Angela Zhang as she shares her research on nanotechnology at the White House Science Fair, held on Feb. 7, 2012. PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA/COURTESY OF ANGELA ZHANG

President Barack Obama listens to Angela Zhang as she shares her research on nanotechnology at the White House Science Fair, held on Feb. 7, 2012. PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA/COURTESY OF ANGELA ZHANG

Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad: By the young age of 16, Azza utilized the cheap, high-yeilding catalyst “Aluminosilicate” to break down plastic, producing ethane, methane, and propane. These chemicals can then be converted into the biofuel ethanol. Azza stated that this technology could “provide an economically efficient method for production of hydrocarbon fuel.” The production of 40,000 tons of cracked naptha and 138,000 tons of hydrocarbon gasses could equate to $78 million in biofuel. Azza was awarded with the European Fusion Development Agreement award at the 23rd European Union Contest for Young Scientists

 

Angela Zhang: In February 2012 Zhang and a team from Stanford found that the iron oxide gold nanoparticle can not only detect cancer by “bind(ing) to some of the biomarkers that are present on cancer cells,” as stated by Zhang, then indicating which cells became cancerous though imaging, it can also transport chemotherapy drugs quickly to the necessary cells. Zhang shared that, “A lot of chemotherapies right now, they’re systematic so they attack all of the cells in your body. So the ability to concentrate and deliver chemotherapy to only cancer cells would [help] increase the efficacy of some cancer drugs and decrease some of the side effects.” Due to her remarkable achievements in this research, Zhang was awarded with first-prize at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.

 

Deepika Kurup: Deepika was advocated for clean water through her 2012 project that involved a photocatalytic composite composed of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, hollow glass microspheres and Portland cement. The total coliform was reduced from 8000 colony-forming units to 50 by the composite while Methylene blue was also oxidised at a faster rate than typical solar disinfection methods. In 2014 she improved her technique by introducing a pervious photocatalytic composite to contain sand, TiO2, Portland cement and silver nitrate. This method reduced 98% of total coliform bacteria in filtration. 100% of total coliform bacteria was inactivated in 15 minutes when filtered water was exposed to sunlight with a photocatalytic disc. Kururp has been rewarded the 2014 US Stockholm Junior Water Prize and the National Geographic winner in the 2015 Google Science Fair.

 

Thumbnail Design by Mrinaalika Sivakumar.

Sarah Rodriguezscience, woc