Rawan Omar ’14, M.S.’17 is a Ph.D. candidate in the Norman Seiden Intl. Multidisciplinary Graduate Program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering, and a graduate of Harvard University’s postgraduate certificate program Foundations of Clinical Research. She actively promotes science and tech education to women and Israeli Arabs.
Rawan was raised in Zemer, a small rural village in Israel. Her parents were supportive of her dream to pursue higher degrees and become an engineer, and against all odds, she became the first woman in Zemer to do so. Rawan earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biotechnology engineering at the Technion.
Sadly, during the last year of her master’s study, Rawan’s father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He passed away six months later. The loss made her more determined than ever to continue her studies to support her family, community, and country.
Following two years at Teva Pharmaceuticals as a chemical analyst, Rawan returned to the Technion for her Ph.D. Currently, she is working with acclaimed Professor Hossam Haick on developing smart wearable patches for monitoring health and diagnosing disease, particularly cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide with 18 million deaths annually, but symptoms progress slowly and are difficult to detect. Rawan’s wearable patch is equipped with chemical and biological sensors that when placed on the skin can measure various health parameters and alert patients in real-time in case of a health disorder.
In her advocacy work, Rawan co-founded the Alrowad-YASA (Young Arab Scientists Association) in 2016 to advance equal opportunities and close the gap between the Arab and the general scientific community in Israel and worldwide. She is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), where she mentors young students from all over the world to help them gain the necessary skills to pursue STEM careers.
Rawan has more than a half-dozen publications and has received numerous awards including the McKinsey Achievement Award, recognition as Mentor and Member in the New York Academy of Science, and a scholarship from the Ariane de Rothschild Women’s Doctoral Program, where she is currently a fellow and steering committee member.