NAYA| Stories from the field of science

“Follow your dreams and do whatever you have to do to get there,” she told the audience.
by Maysaa Ajjan

13 March 2019 | 09:06

Source: by Annahar

  • by Maysaa Ajjan
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 13 March 2019 | 09:06

Picture from "Leading Women in Science." (Annahar Photo).

BEIRUT: Three pioneers from the field of science took the stage of Irwin Hall at the Lebanese American University on Tuesday. Those discussed a series of topics in a panel entitled "Leading Women in Science." 

“We believe in the power of women to create change in this world,” Jana Sharara, the president of the premed club at LAU, told Annahar. “Being a premed student, I see science as the tool to prove ourselves and to make a presence.”

The first guest to speak was Mirvet El Sibai, associate professor of cell and molecular biology, coordinator of the graduate program, and vice chair of the faculty senate.

“The highest forms of honor an educator can achieve is to be recognized by her students for her accomplishments,” said El Sibai.

Labeled as mostly single in the men-dominated classroom and barely taken seriously, El Sibai struggled to have her voice heard.

“Some of my findings were not always taken seriously and it felt that my male colleagues were always taken more seriously but, that motivated me to work even harder,” she ended her speech with a genuine piece of advice: “Be brilliant, be independent, be daring.”

Erica Chbeir, the second female pilot to join the Middle East Airlines, shared her experience and path into piloting.

While her decision of joining pilot training after completing five years of dentistry might have been hard, Chbeir is very proud of her accomplishments and insists that this decision is the best one she could have made.

“My uncle was a pilot and he always shared his passion with me,” she said. “When I heard that MEA was recruiting, I decided to give it a shot.”

“Follow your dreams and do whatever you have to do to get there. Do not lose sight of your dream,” she told the audience.

Souha Kanj, the last speaker, is currently a tenured professor of medicine at the American University of Beirut Medical Center and a professor at the Duke University Medical Center (DUMC). She was an associate professor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and she founded the ID transplant program at DUMC before joining AUBMC where she is currently Head of the ID Division and Chair of the Infection Control Program.

“My long journey in medicine taught me a lot of lessons, and I have practiced medicine by certain principles that are crucial for me,” she said.

Kanj shared 13 principles and lessons with the audience, all of which revolved around sentimental advice such as “follow your heart” or “treat people the way you want to be treated.”

“A doctor is a healer,” Kanj said. “While artificial intelligence today might soon replace medical decisions, what a patient really needs is someone to lend them a sympathetic ear. Doctors need to listen to their patients.”


Welcome to “Naya”, the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment.

We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations

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