Mariam Ismail

Mariam Ismail

Senior Research Engineer
1366 Technologies
Mariam Ismail
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Dr. Ismail develops processes for 1366 Technologies, a Massachusetts-based solar technology company aiming at delivering solar at the cost of coal. She has 10 years of experience in analytical methods and crystal growth. In 2011, Dr. Ismail received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University, Boston, MA. Throughout her work at the Center for Advanced Microgravity Materials Processing Center (NASA-sponsored Lab, Northeastern University), she developed a novel method for the hydrothermal synthesis of vanadosilicate AM-6 for enhanced visible light photocatalysis. Her work resulted in 10 technical publications, over a dozen national and international conference proceedings, and a book chapter. In 2011, she was the recipient of the American Institute of Chemists award for Outstanding Graduate Student. In 2009, she was selected amongst a large pool of applicants to partake in the YCC/NESACS-JCF/GDCh Exchange to Germany Program. From 2009 to 2011, Dr. Ismail acted as Career Chair and Campus Representative for the Northeast Section of the Younger Chemists Committee. Dr. Ismail is also an adjunct faculty to Simmons College, Boston, MA. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry from UMass Dartmouth. In her spare time, Dr. Ismail volunteers for various local and national educational developmental programs.

  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to serve as science fair judge or other temporary volunteer at a local school.
  • I am willing to host a field trip to my place of employment.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Dr. Mariam Ismail

Hello Vidhi,
I wouldn't necessarily say chemical engineers suffer from allergies due to exposure of strong chemicals. Most companies are well equipped with proper chemical hygiene, so as long as you're wearing proper personal protective equipment you should be ok. Also, chemical engineering jobs range from R&D (lab work) to consulting or applications engineering (almost no lab work). 

Best of luck!
Mariam Ismail

Hi Mariah!
That's great that you're enjoying math and chemistry. You can do so much as an engineer. There are several companies that deal with cosmetics and fashion that need engineers and scientists expertise. Maybe you could intern at one of those companies before choosing your college major? Living Proof in Cambridge MA is one that I can think of.

Best of luck!

Hi Alexis,
Happy to see you considering an engineering field. I'm a chemist/chemical engineer. By that I mean I did my undergraduate degree in chemistry, then switched over to chemical engineering for my graduate studies. As an undergrad though, I always gravitated towards engineering (however, was a junior by the time I found my true calling so decided to just switch to engineering for graduate studies). I did my undergraduate research for a chemical engineer in the field of water purification. I was lucky enough to find my passion in energy and environmental work. For my graduate studies, I chose chemical engineering because of the wide applications it covers. But also, I was able to find a research group who's interested were in line with mine. Currently, I work for an MIT start-up, 1366 Technologies, where I develop processes aiming at delivering solar at the cost of coal. It's been a very rewarding experience thus far. I believe what matters in you choosing your field is where you think you can make the most impact. Following your passions is key. You could also begin your undergraduate studies undecided (but on the engineering track), work in a few labs to figure out where your passions lie, and then choose your field. As you can see, it's never too late to switch fields. What's important and will make you successful, is following your passions.
I've been very fortunate to have no have faced any discrimination throughout my career. Although I was almost always one of the few women in a conference room, sometimes even the only one, I find it empowering to have earned my spot in this field. You have to prove yourself, but once you do, your male coworkers will truly value your opinion and viewpoint. But, that is the case in any field you choose.

Best of luck! And remember, follow your passions, work hard, and everything else will fall into place.