New York Dawoodi Bohra Women Talk About Their Journey in STEM Careers

Dawoodi Bohra women in New York lead and serve in many professional roles, including healthcare, information technology, architecture, design, and engineering. To mark Women in Science Day, we profile two women and their journey to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Batul Ali, Engineering Student at University of Texas at Arlington

I am a New Yorker, currently studying engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. I originally became interested in engineering and the STEM field because of my passion and love for solving problems, thinking outside the box, and product development.

Before college, I took a gap year to give back to my community in New York City. I joined City Year, an AmeriCorps nonprofit organization that distributes groups of committed volunteers to secondary schools in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. I was placed at a middle school in Queens, the borough where I grew up. I helped 6th and 7th graders with math and ran after-school programs committed to encouraging interest within the STEM fields.

I also led coding classes for kids and was deeply committed to inspire interest in science among girls as part of my service year. I had the unique opportunity through City Year to participate in an all-women event supporting education, spoke at a panel, and visited different company headquarters in New York, such as Microsoft and HSBC. By the end of my service year, I had committed more than 1,700 hours of service to the school and to City Year. I am now back in college – more committed than ever to continue pursuing my passion of encouraging women in STEM!

Alefiya Poonawala-Jamali, Dietitian and Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

After graduating high school, like many of my peers, I was confused by my next choice. I knew I wanted a career, but at the same time wanted options and flexibility. At this juncture, with the guidance of my parents I opted to enroll in the Home Science Program at S.N.D.T University, Pune.

I graduated with a specialization in Dietetics and Food Service Management, followed by a post-graduate diploma in Sports Science and Nutrition. Soon after, I got married and immigrated to New York. My husband Mustafa encouraged me to pursue my dream of obtaining my Master’s degree in Nutrition from Long Island University, CW Post.

Since I was keen on putting my nutrition degree in practice, I completed a rigorous internship and registered as a dietitian and certified dietitian nutritionist to practice in New York State. When my children were growing up, I opted to work part time, and returned to work full time once they started school.

Currently, I practice as a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Care and Education Specialist with an interest in weight management. I believe that my cultural background and understanding of ethnic foods and my skills as a motivational counselor provide an enriching patient experience. I believe in constantly learning and developing new skills and I am currently pursuing an MBA in Strategic Health Care Management.

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