View full image Prizewinner Azza Faiad (left) gets inside fusion in the in-vessel training facility with Rasha Dwedar and Nourwanda Sourour.

Prizewinner Azza Faiad (left) gets inside fusion in the in-vessel training facility with Rasha Dwedar and Nourwanda Sourour.

Believing everything is possible

“We were given the motivation to pursue our dreams and believing in that everything is possible and could be conducted by strong will and creative thinking.”

Last week EFDA hosted 17-year old Egyptian school student, Azza Faiad, who was a prize winner in the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Azza’s project explored methods of reprocessing plastic waste into usable hydrocarbons through catalytic cracking, which she estimated could be worth over 160 million dollars. Her project was chosen from a total of 87 projects from 37 countries as one of eight EIROForum prizewinners. EIROForum, which is a partnership between eight of Europe’s largest international research organisations, awards each winner a week at one of the institutions.

Because of her youth, Azza was accompanied by a chaperone, Nourwanda Sourour, an eighth term Gas and Petrochemicals Engineering student, who was also a mentor on Azza’s project. Freelance journalist Rasha Dewedar also joined the pair to cover their life-changing experience.

“It is the first time that I have seen such a huge collaboration!” said Azza. “People from all over Europe working towards one goal, like one family.”  As well as numerous tours of the various facilities at JET – including a chance to explore the in-vessel training facility, pictured above – the young scientists spent time chatting with researchers about their careers.

One such researcher was Joelle Vallory, who is a nominee for the  Fem’Energia award. “It was so inspiring to hear her story, she is an exceptional role model,” said Azza. In their final report, Azza and Nourwanda wrote “We were given the motivation to pursue our dreams and believing in that everything is possible and could be conducted by strong will and creative thinking.”

Seeing the impressive presentation given by Azza on the final morning of her visit – inspiring extensive discussion in the packed meeting room of scientists and students – you get the feeling that everything is possible for this talented young woman.