Naturally, in school, I oriented my education towards science and, more specifically, chemistry. I was interested in finding out how everything works on a molecular level.
Chemistry has brought many great moments of joy to my life. In high school, I was able to travel to Paris for a contest when I was only 17 years old. And now, here I am in Quebec to realize my dreams and maybe become a professor who can inspire other young scientists.
Maniya Aghasibeig: I became fascinated with materials science after I took a high school course on the subject, and got familiar with various types of materials (metals, ceramics, polymers etc.) with different structures and properties.
A year later, just prior to choosing an undergraduate major, I met someone who studied in the field, and he explained to me about its diversity and its flexibility: it can be used in many different technologies, from aerospace to health care. That was when I knew that I wanted to study in this field.
Usually when I first contact people by email and introduce myself as a PhD candidate who studies mechanical engineering, they assume that I am a guy. Later, when we meet in person or speak on the phone, they are very surprised to see/hear a girl!
Tell us about what you're researching now, and why.
CB: I am currently a PhD student in organic chemistry. I decided to take the PhD path because I want to be a professor. In the last few years, while supervising undergraduate students, I discovered a true passion for teaching.
In organic chemistry, our goal is to build drugs or molecules with a potential material application. To do it, we have to develop new methods to synthesize these interesting molecules. My research project is "Synthesis of Heteroaromatic Compounds via Palladium-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling and Directed Ortho-Metalation Reactions."