In the last year alone, Farah has been on the winning team at the International Hackathon for Social Good, received the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship from the University of Oxford, and now, as an undergrad, she’s a published researcher in the field of biomedical engineering.
21-year-old Shamout has spent four months during her sophomore study-away semester working with Dr. James Choi at Imperial College London researching ways to deliver drugs to diseased cells using only ultrasound. The research, published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, aims to create non-invasive surgery techniques to treat cancer and heart disease. In short, cell surgery without the incision.
Arab Woman Platform is happy to have this ambitious young lady among our inspirational women in this issue.
One of the biggest complains from students is that they don’t know what they want to study once they graduate school, did you always know that biomedical engineering is your field of choice?
No, I didn’t. I actually went to university thinking I would major in Civil Engineering, as I always liked math and natural sciences. I was also always passionate about building and creating solutions for different crisis in the healthcare industry. After taking sciences in my first year, I realized my passion towards biology, physics and math. Thus, I decided to explore the intersection of the biology and engineering and I found myself in biomedical engineering. I also tried to expand my perspective by taking economics, psychology, law, or arts classes. This type of interdisciplinary education would allow me to better understand the needs and wants of the relationship that artists, scientists, lawyers or economists aim to establish with engineers.
How does it feel to be part of something revolutionary and make history?
I am proud to be taking the lead in laboratories that have the potential to revolutionize the medical industry. Although I might get a bit intimidated by the obstacles that I may face, my motivation overcomes my intimidation to develop bioinformatics technology due to the impact it will have on society to save lives.
What do you hope to achieve and what are your goals for the future?
My main goal is to return to the Middle East, and specifically the United Arab Emirates, to develop biomedical engineering research in the field. I also want to work on allocating more opportunities for Arab females in sciences to empower them and foster their talents.
What motivates you to want to accomplish so much at such a young age?
I am an optimistic person and so I get very disappointed when I realize that I cannot pursue my interests in the Middle East and that talents are being neglected. That’s why I am always seeking to gain knowledge in order to accomplish my goals with the appropriate skills and tools. And so working hard at a young age would hopefully buy me more time to later invest my knowledge in the region and in the education of other females.
I also want to give back to the United Arab Emirates for allowing me to grow up to who I am today.
What message do you have for young girls to encourage them to pursue higher education and develop career goals?
I would like them to think of higher education as not just the ultimate goal, but as a tool required for self-development that would help them advance their careers and accomplish their long-term goals. I would also like to encourage them to not just focus on the industry of their field, but to explore other parts of it such as academia, research, scholarship, or participating in conferences.