The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) has recognized Nabila Riaz as an ASPB Ambassador. The Ambassador Program selects early career scientists to communicate the vision and mission of the Society to their scientific networks as well as to the general public and are expected to engage in outreach events throughout the year and participate in leadership training provided by the ASPB, in addition to completing a report of their activities to "help ensure the ongoing vitality of the Society."
Riaz is currently a Ph.D. student in Mary Lou Guerinot's lab where she focuses her research on understanding mineral nutrition in plants and how they adapt to an Iron (Fe) deficiency. Prior to attending Dartmouth, Riaz received her B.S. in Biology from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan and a Master's degree in Plant Sciences from the University of Bonn, Germany.
Since joining Dartmouth, Riaz has found herself in a small, tight-knit, supportive community and is particularly grateful for the support she has received from her advisor and the Biology department as she pursues her research and outreach goals.
"Mary Lou Guerinot and Biology department chair Thomas Jack have provided me with guidance and support every step of the way for not only my research project but also outside lab," she says.
Riaz is also involved with the Graduate Student Council (GSC)-recognized group, Dartmouth ManyMentors which serves rural K-12 populations by conducting virtual and in-person outreach to students who are interested in STEM careers. She believes that her role as an Ambassador will expose these students to an even broader array of opportunities.
"It will be a great opportunity for underrepresented K-12 students in rural Vermont and New Hampshire to hear about ASPB outreach activities and plant science research that they might have not heard before or ever considered," she says.
Riaz also served on the GSC as a representative for graduate students in the Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) program and is eager to continue increasing diversity in the plant science world at Dartmouth and beyond.
"I want to bridge the gap among broader plant science community at Dartmouth including postdocs and graduate students," says Riaz. "I am planning virtual social events which the global ASPB ambassador team can share with their campuses to create a network platform for the Dartmouth plant community."
Riaz, who is originally from Pakistan, says her experiences as an international student have given her insight into the importance of exchanging ideas, and is looking forward to opportunities the program will offer in building a "diverse and inclusive community of plant scientists."
Congratulations Nabila, and good luck!