Over the last year, our own Contributing Writer Tia Shah, has been writing an amazing column about trailblazing girls throughout history. This new Incredible Girls column is in that vein, only this column is about contemporary girls under the age of 25 who are doing awe-inspiring and significant things in the world. Every Friday in 2019, we are going to post a column detailing the life of an Incredible Girl and why you should know about her. Read on for a glimpse into the life of science student, Alia Al Mansoori.
Complex science is way beyond me (let’s not even talk about my AP Biology score in high school) but 16-year-old Alia Al Mansoori is a science whiz and I bow down.
Alia’s interest in science was sparked when she was a child by her love of all things Star Wars and science fiction. In 2017, she won the Genes in Space Award for her research on how exposure to space can affect humans at the cellular level. Her research was on heat shock proteins that could potentially shield the body from radiation and microgravity. Her experiment was launched into space in August 2017 from Cape Canaveral. She said of the launch: “Astronauts can’t keep wearing suits to protect us forever. I wanted to find a way to keep us safe from the inside out…I could feel the rumble of the engines beating in my chest and my heart. That’s exactly when I knew I wanted to be an astronaut. Nothing can stop me.”
Alia hopes to study genetics at university, and eventually become an astronaut — her dream is to become the first Emirati woman to travel to Mars.
In March 2019, she became the youngest person to become a part of the New York University Abu Dhabi research community. Alia was appointed to be a Scientific Research Fellow; during the two-year fellowship, she will be working on developing laboratory skills, and working on protein extractions and cell staining methods. She will then write a research proposal at the end of her fellowship.
Alia’s continued passion for science and her drive to achieve her dreams of becoming an astronaut are both really impressive. It is important for girls around the world, specifically girls in Alia’s own community to see her doing these incredible things. Hopefully she will pave the way for more Emirati girls to become involved in STEM.
Girl Museum Inc.