Gayda Mohamed, 19 – FUNDED

Gayda Mohamed has become accustomed to being the only female — and only woman of color — in the room. And, while that has been a challenge, it has also made this Paliwal Club of 100 STEAM Scholars Fund winner stronger and more resolute in her biochemistry and biophysics studies at Brown University — and her future goals.

What is your professional dream?

I want to be a trauma surgeon.

What does being in the Paliwal Club of 100 mean to you? 

As a Black, Muslim woman in a predominately male-dominated field, it is inspiring to know that the lack of diversity in STEM is an issue that concerns others. Being in the Paliwal Club of 100 means that my goals and aspirations are more than just my own.

Women are underrepresented in the S.T.E.A.M. (science, tech, arts or math) fields and music industry. How can we change this? 

The assumption that woman are not equally as capable, if not more capable than men, in STEAM fields is one that needs to be addressed directly. Eliminating this incorrect and harmful belief is one way we can change this. Outreach events, mentoring programs, diversity and engagement programs, etc. are tactics that could be utilized, as well. Underrepresented women in STEAM need to know that someone has their back.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

A combination of religious obligations, cultural stereotypes, and a lack of support have shaped my journey in STEM. I distinctly recall entering my high-school engineering class and being the only female there and, once again, in college being the only women in an upper-level physics class. Lack of encouragement, support, and praise for women in STEM is a challenge that unfortunately many in my situation face.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

This grant will allow me to further my academic goals and ultimately aid in my success within the demanding academic atmosphere of the university I attend.