Dr Yaseera Ismail.

Dr Yaseera Ismail, a Postdoctoral Fellow in UKZN’s Quantum Research Group, has been selected to take part in the TechWomen initiative in the United States of America, a five-week programme which includes a professional mentorship visit with a host company, exposure to cultural and community service events, and targeted meetings with the US Department of State in Washington DC.

The Programme brings emerging women leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East into contact with their professional counterparts in the United States. The objective is to empower, connect, and support these women leaders.

Ismail was selected as one of the 90 participants for 2016, from the initiative’s most competitive submission round yet of more than 2 300 applications.  She joins a group of 333 other women from 21 countries who have taken part.

Ismail will spend four weeks at Synopsys, working on projects alongside a professional mentor, exchanging ideas and expertise. Mentors are also invited to visit the home countries of those they mentor.

While in the San Francisco Bay area, Ismail will take part in cultural activities and community events.  She will work with an impact advisor to network and develop a plan of action to overcome a socioeconomic challenge in their community.

The fifth week will be spent with other participants meeting with officials in Washington DC, attending special events and visiting the White House.

Inspired by the prospect of being mentored by like-minded professionals, Ismail looks forward to interacting with emerging leaders and building meaningful, lasting connections with global women leaders. The programme is also intended to impart skills for mentoring women, entrepreneurship and innovative leadership.

‘I am exhilarated to be chosen as an emerging leader,’ said Ismail, ‘and am looking forward to the opportunities this trip will present.’

Ismail is currently conducting research in quantum technology, specifically quantum communication, which promises to revolutionise ICT security solutions in the future through the encryption of data using quantum mechanics.

Through this opportunity, Ismail hopes to be enabled to harness her professional career skills in order to give back to society.  She wants to make the most of the chance to develop mentorship, project leadership and management skills, all of which are beneficial to a researcher. She looks forward to building networks for future collaborations, calling this a part of her lifelong journey towards making a difference in society.

Christine Cuénod