Join Us for A Special Event on June 6th!
Are you like us navigating on this journey of vision loss or blindness? Are you ready to join us for a live conversation with someone who probably breaks every perception you have about blindness?
On our June 6th (9am Pacific Time) monthly call, we are honored to have an amazing guest speaker Dr. Mona Minkara, a blind scientist, a public speaker, an avid traveler, a Youtuber, and an advocate for accessibility, inclusion, and representation for people with visual impairments in science. Currently, Dr. Minkara is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Affiliated Faculty of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at Northeastern University.
Mona has traveled to more than 10 countries and hosts two Youtube channels: “the Blind Traveler”, and “Planes, Trains, and Canes”. In the latter project, Mona traveled to some of the world’s most interesting places and explored public transportation around the globe. Want to know how fun and unconventional Dr. Minkara is? Check out one of her videos now:
Dr. Mona Minkara was born in Boston to Lebanese parents, who immigrated to America from Tripoli, Libya. At the age of seven, Mona’s vision began to deteriorate seriously due to retinal diseases. Despite being legally blind, Mona received top grades at her high school and obtained a scholarship to study at Wellesley College, one of the top Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S. At Wellesley, Mona majored in both chemistry and Middle-Eastern studies, and she gave the commencement address at her year’s graduation ceremony in 2009. Following a year of research experience at Wellesley under a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant, In 2010, Mona began her doctoral studies at the University of Florida supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. For her Ph.D., Mona focused on using molecular dynamics simulations to design a new inhibitor for enzymes that help bacteria survive in the stomach. In 2015, Mona received her Ph.D. in Chemistry and started her post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota Chemical Theory Center, where she used computational chemistry simulations to explore the interfacial properties of surfactants, the surface tension of water, and the properties of supercritical fluids. Dr. Minkara joined the Department of Bioengineering at Northeastern University in August of 2019 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Her research team is using computer simulations to study how to improve the efficacy of drugs.
Mona is an advocate of inclusion and diversity. She has given numerous speeches about how to overcome obstacles and negativity to pursue a successful career. She also gave talks to Muslim groups about her career in science as a blind, female Muslim. Mona is heavily involved in the non-profit organization Empowerment Through Integration (ETI) set up by her sister Sara Minkara, who is also visually impaired. ETI provides scientific support and outreach to disabled children. Mona helped develop a curriculum for blind learners focusing on touch and hearing as sensory inputs to learn about chemistry.
Mona has traveled to more than 10 countries and hosts two Youtube channels: “the Blind Traveler”, and “Planes, Trains, and Canes”. In the latter project, Mona traveled to some of the world’s most interesting places and explored public transportation around the globe.
Dr. Minkara has received numerous awards for her scientific achievements and her dedication to inclusion and diversity, including Scholarship of the National Federation of the Blind (2013), National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2012-2015), Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016), Dan Su Travel Award of American Chemical Society, and Holman Prize of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (2019). Dr. Minkara is an active member of the American Chemical Society, where she serves on the Chemists with Disabilities committee. She is also affiliated with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, where she is a member of the Disabilities Outreach and Inclusion Community.
Her website: https://monaminkara.com
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