Clarkson Biology PhD candidate Mahfuza Akter has been awarded a 2023 American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Future Leaders Mentoring Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to support master's and doctoral graduate students from underrepresented groups, who demonstrate an interest in the microbial sciences, seek mentorship in navigating their educational and career trajectories and leadership development. As an ASM Future Leaders Fellow, Mahfuza will receive support to attend the ASM Microbe conference in Houston, TX in June this year, where she will be giving a talk. This support includes complimentary registration, lodging, and a travel stipend. The fellowship program will also provide Mahfuza with a number of year-round opportunities within ASM and beyond, including matched mentoring by experts in various career sectors in microbiology, educational, research, and career advice, and numerous networking opportunities. In the second year of her fellowship, Mahfuza will act as a peer mentor at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) to students in the microbiology discipline and serve as a ABRCMS session moderator, giving back to the microbiology community.
“I am very honored to be awarded this fellowship and excited to participate in the program, both as a mentee and a mentor. The financial support and networking opportunities that ASM is providing will be extremely valuable for my career,” Mahfuza says.
Mahfuza is a graduate student working with Assistant Professor Susan Bailey in the Biology Department, focusing on understanding the evolution of antibiotic resistance bacteria growing in a heterogeneous environment. She works as Teaching Assistant for both Microbiology and Molecular Biology Labs and is a student leader at Clarkson, having served as Vice-President of Clarkson’s Graduate Student Association in 2021-2022 and was president of Clarkson’s Bangladeshi Student Association (2022).