I never thought studying lung surfactant would become so relevant to everyday life. We are leveraging our knowledge and skills in the fight against COVID-19 and we are looking for talented individuals, from graduate students to postdocs, to join our team! Check out my lab's website at www.minkaracombinelab.com.
I applied to the Holman Prize to show the world what blind people are capable of
and I am humble and lucky to have won! Now it's your chance to do the same! Applications are now
open for the 2020 Holman Prize! If you've got a unique idea that embodies Blind
Ambition and adventure, don't hesitate to apply!
I'm headed to Washington, D.C. for the Emerging Researchers National
Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
hosted by AAAS and NSF. The theme of this year's conference is Preparing Diverse
Researchers to Address Global Challenges. I'm excited to participate in the
Students in STEM with Disabilities Working Group, in which I was invited to
share my experiences as a blind scientist. (Link to the conference webpage:
I am pleased to announce that I have been offered an Affiliated Faculty appointment in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at Northeastern University. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to engage with students and faculty outside of my department and promote interdisciplinary research.
I am delighted to share the news that I have begun a new position as an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern University. Here, I am joining incredible faculty as I lead a research lab on Pulmonary Surfactants and teach classes in the coming semesters. This is a brand new and exciting chapter of my life and I am ready to begin incredible research with the inspirational faculty and staff here.
Link to Northeastern University Bioengineering Website: http://www.bioe.neu.edu/#_ga=2.117971465.1674184152.1565127950-279588948.1564673784
I am so honored to have been featured on the Blind Abilities podcast with Jeff Thompson, where we talked about my Holman Prize documentary: Planes, Trains, and Canes. Jeff is always an inviting and engaging host, so we also got just a bit sidetracked and really dug into the nitty-gritty of my past and future world travels. I had a wonderful time recording, and I hope that some of that comes through to you, the listener.
You can download or stream the podcast here: http://blindabilities.com/?p=5281 Be sure to give it a listen!
I am ecstatic to announce that I am among the winners of the 2019 Holman Prize! The Holman Prize is an initiative “to support the emerging adventurousness and can-do spirit of blind and low vision people worldwide.” Join me on my journey this winter with my documentary series, Planes, Trains, and Canes. To everybody who gave my trailer a like, subscribed to my channel, or simply just watched: thank you for all your support. I can’t wait to begin.
For any questions, comments, or input on Planes, Trains, and Canes, you can reach me directly by Twitter at @mona_minkara or @PlaneTrainCane, or by email at email@example.com. I’m even on Instagram at @PlaneTrainCane!
Last month, the Minnesota State Services for the Blind hosted a career expo for students who are blind, low vision, or DeafBlind.
I had an amazing time showing my research and model at the Expo, but I also had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with Jeff Thompson in a short interview, which can be found here: https://blindabilities.com/?p=5081
If you’d like to know more about Planes, Trains, and Canes, the link can be found here:https://blindabilities.com/?p=5081
I’m honored to serve on the Chemists with Disabilities Committee for ACS. We work together to make chemistry more accessible and inclusive. Some projects we are working on include making an accessible periodic table (complete with braille and ASL signs), developing guidelines for accessible scientific PowerPoint presentations, and creating a manual for teaching chemists with disabilities.
I am pleased to announce my application to the 2019 Holman Prize. The Holman Prize supports blind adventurers. With your support, I will produce a documentary series called “Planes, Trains, and Canes” where I will travel to five major cities around the world and showcase public transportation from a blind perspective. Every like on YouTube helps my project advance, so please support and share if you can!
A month ago, I had the honor of being interviewed by two wonderful women creating a brand new Twitter account dedicated to uplifting and showcasing women in STEM fields. Last Monday, the account went up.
Now, I am happy to announce that my feature has been posted, alongside many other inspirational women. If you are able to, please give them a look at @_womenofstem or here at this link!
This week I had the marvelous opportunity to present my talk “Unseen Advantage: The Power of Perception” at Stanford University. I had an amazing time meeting the wonderful faculty, staff, and students of Stanford. I am glad my story could be heard, and I am so grateful for all of the people who planned and organized this extraordinary opportunity.
By its very nature of innovation, science will always call for people with new and novel perspectives.
This past weekend, I shared my story at the Reaching Students with Disabilities Symposium at the City University of New York. I felt honored to present alongside my outstanding friends and colleagues in promoting this initiative. Together we can support and encourage students with disabilities to contribute their unique perspectives to the chemistry community!
Thank you to Patricia Redden and the New York Chapter of ACS for organizing and hosting this amazing event!
This month I attended the 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition. Held in my home city of Boston, this conference was amazing. I presented my research, “Probing Mesophases and Interfaces using Monte Carlo Simulations” and “Unseen Advantage,” a presentation about the history of blind scientists and chemists. I had a blast meeting so many vibrant, brilliant chemists. I can’t wait to see you all at Chemistry for New Frontiers in Orlando!
For the past two weeks I had the pleasure of teaching STEM to blind kids in Beirut, Lebanon.The camp was created by Empowerment Through Integration, a non profit dedicated to changing the way we view disability. With the help of an amazing group of volunteers, I served as the STEM Curriculum Coordinator. We were able to teach over 50 blind children from all over Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. The months before this trip were spent writing blind-accessible curriculum, coordinating lesson plans, and creating supply lists. I am proud to say this hard work paid off. This was the most rewarding experience, and I am honored to have been a part of this project. Thank you to each and every person who helped! I couldn’t have done it without you.
I had the honor of attending the 2018 annual meeting of IPRIME (Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial & Materials Engineering). I presented my
research titled “Adsorption of Hexane and H2S at the Liquid-Vapor Interface of Water”. I had a great audience who asked many engaging questions. I look forward to next year’s meeting!
This past weekend I was in Washington D.C. at my second conference organized by the Ford Foundation. I gave two presentations, one titled “Probing Interfaces and Mesophases with Molecular Simulation” and the other titled “Dis/Ability Issues in Academe”. Hosted at the National Academy of Science, I was able to meet some of the brightest minds from all across the country! I look forward to seeing what the future holds for my brilliant peers, a big thank you to the Ford Foundation for the opportunity!
This weekend, I went to Berkeley’s “PhD for Me” conference to give a talk entitled, “Navigating Graduate School with a Disability.” Presented to a group of undergraduates with disabilities interested in attending grad school, this talk was my opportunity to share the outlook and tools I used to succeed. I truly believe that with the right accommodations and support systems, any and every student can go far in grad school.The students who attended were truly amazing, and I wish the best for each of them. I know they will thrive in grad school, in research, and beyond! I am truly grateful to Berkeley for letting me share my story.
I was invited to be on a panel on career connections at the State Services for the Blind. I spoke about my career path to a group of blind high school students who were interested in pursuing college. I made a lot of connections and a few friends! It was amazing to hear from the next generation of students, and I look forward to seeing what they will do.
This month I attended the 255th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition, along with some 11,000 to 13,000 chemists. Held in New Orleans, the conference was an absolutely wonderful opportunity to meet likeminded professionals and get a bit of sun. I presented on the topic “Gibbs Ensemble Monte Carlo Simulations for Additive Loading in Surfactant Bilayers.” It was great to hear about the groundbreaking chemical research others are performing, and I felt renewed in my own work.
I was even lucky enough to have a bit of spare time to explore the lovely city of New Orleans and try out my first beignet at Cafe du Monde! Look for me at the next conference held in my own home state: Massachusetts!