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Mst Atikunnaher, Bangladesh, Environmental Bioscience in a changing climate Msc

What was the journey that brought you to Warwick?

Being a frontline agriculture extension worker, I have served for eight years enhancing the crop productivity and livelihoods of socio-economically challenged coastal farmers in Bangladesh. I wanted to contribute more through learning how to bring mainstream scientific thinking of climatic risks to sustainable policies and practices. This inspired me to pursue my Master's of Science at the University of Warwick, which is one of the leading universities in the UK for agricultural research and education. The British Council Scholarship for women in STEM at Warwick, designed to recognise underrepresented women in STEM, has given me the opportunity to advance my knowledge and thinking, and to extend my professional network globally.

How has the scholarship, and your time so far at Warwick, boosted your career and your confidence as a researcher?
‘Think globally, work locally’ has been my motto since my adolescence, and I have been nourishing a dream to counter every challenge and make people smile through discovering my potential. The Scholarship for women in STEM is making my dream come true through its diverse interdisciplinary focus on cross-boundary connectivity. I believe this worthwhile experience will establish me as a promising practitioner in every walk of my career.

What is your research area, and how will it positively affect the lives of others/the planet?

To achieve the motto of the UN Sustainable Development Goals of ‘Leaving no one behind’, revitalising the farming communities of Bangladesh is of core importance. With my Master's I will be able to assess the risks, identify opportunities and devise solutions for environmentally vulnerable farming communities. I will be able to implement technical and technological interventions, contributing to sustainable development through ensuring food security and combating environmental challenges.

Can you describe any of the challenges or obstacles you may have faced so far in your career? Have you overcome them?

After joining the Bangladesh Civil Service, I started to work with individual farmers and their groups in coastal areas of Bangladesh. I saw that most of the farmers in the region are struggling to cope with extreme climatic events and, being a change-maker, I wanted to stand beside them, but needed to enhance my analytical skills and understanding of the issues. Having a Master's degree in Environmental Bioscience in a changing climate is preparing me to contribute professionally to the betterment of extremely vulnerable coastal communities.

Do you have any advice, from your experiences, for girls and women who wish to pursue a career in science?

Being a mother, wife, and Muslim woman, I would say my journey towards science and innovation hasn’t been smooth. However, my skills and experience make me mentally strong and economically empowered. You have every capability and possibility, just believe in yourself.

What do you think is the future for women in science?
Science can make a better tomorrow. Be smarter, be with science.

The British Council scholarships for women in STEM enable female scientists from to undertake postgraduate study at Warwick, with funding covering full tuition fees, travel costs, a monthly stipend, and other course-related costs. Applications are currently open for five scholarships available to female students from Brazil and Mexico. Click here for more information.Link opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window