On International Women’s Day, we take this opportunity to celebrate women in STEM. Today we shine a spotlight on British Council Women in STEM Scholar Masoma Hassani from Afghanistan who is studying Public Health and Health Promotion at Brunel University.
Masoma shares her story of leaving her home country to advance her studies in the UK, and her future ambitions to help develop healthcare systems in Afghanistan.
Congratulations on being a recipient of a British Council Women in STEM scholarship! You’re enrolled on a master’s degree in Public Health and Health Promotion at Brunel University. How are you finding this experience?
Studying MSc Public Health and Health Promotion at Brunel University has provided me with many aspects of health in its broadest sense. This includes health research, health promotion and public health, health care law and ethics, health and social policy, and health services research, allowing me to develop research and critical analysis skills, and to become a key driver for societal change.
How did you find out about the British Council Women in STEM scholarships and what prompted you to apply for an MSc? As well as the financial support, have you received any other kind of support from the British Council?
The British Council Women in STEM Scholarship was the scholarship that I was always searching for and had dreamed of. I was searching online for a fully-funded scholarship when I found it, then I applied for it without any hesitation, and I am a scholar now.
It has covered my tuition fees of studying in a prestigious university in London as well as financial support, stipend, health coverage fees and more importantly, helped me with evacuation from Afghanistan when my country was controlled by the Taliban and there was no way in terms of flights or visas to get out.
Could you tell us a little about your background in STEM?
I studied nursing for four years and I always was passionate to improve my academic knowledge, so participating in many scientific workshops and seminars was my choice. Communicating with experts and effective people in science was also a priority for me.
Moreover, I worked as a nurse for two years as well as working as a volunteer in different charities to gain a better understanding of the health problems and help vulnerable people.
What will this master’s degree help you to achieve personally and professionally? What do you plan to do on completion of your studies?
My master’s degree in Public Health at Brunel University as a British Council Women in STEM Scholar will give me power, confidence, and motivation to go beyond any limitations.
"I see myself as a winner and a successful person with a different attitude and perspective about my abilities and talents - I see every kind of obstacle as an opportunity to grow."
Furthermore, this master’s degree will make me able to work as a qualified person to do research and become a leader in different projects related to public health in international organisations in the UK which specifically work on research in public health.
The knowledge, skills, and critical thinking that I have learned in the master’s course as well as practical knowledge and professional experiences makes me able to promote the creation of a functional health information system that emphasises orderly and accessible information as a professor in Afghanistan’s universities.
These experiences will also help me work in the Ministry of Health and contribute to developing policies and regulations about much-needed health programmes in Afghanistan.
It will motivate skilled Afghan experts, who had emigrated due to the war and Taliban regime, to return to the country and fill the gap where there is a lack of experts in health care.
What advice do you have for other women and girls with an interest in STEM and who would like to study and work in this field?
The British Council Women in STEM Scholarship is a big opportunity for women and girls who have extremely big dreams who want to make them come true!
The programme changes scholars’ personal and social lives in a well-organised, structured way that has been just perfect for me.
It gives you self-belief to overcome any challenge or difficulties.
So, just give yourself a chance to completely change your life in the way that you always wish for - apply now without any hesitation!
Find out more about the British Council Women in STEM Scholarships programme