Prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowship Awarded to Chemical Engineering PhD student, Mariam Darestani

9 March 2011

PhD Chemical Engineering student, Mariam Darestani, has been awarded the prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International. Mariam will receive 10,000 USD to continue her research on anti-fouling piezoelectric membranes.

Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy. Annually, Zonta gives a fellowship award to women of any nationality pursuing a PhD/doctoral degree who demonstrate a superior academic record in the field of aerospace-related sciences and aerospace-related engineering. This award is in honor of Amelia Earhart, famed pilot. She was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for becoming the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records and wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences. After hearing of Amelia Earhart's disappearance in 1937, Zonta established the Amelia Earhart Fellowships. Zonta has awarded 1,262 Amelia Earhart Fellowships totaling US$7 million to women from 59 countries since 1938. Mariam (Tahereh) Draestani is one of the Zonta award winners for 2010.

Mariam's research focuses on antifouling membrane and films. She has fabricated piezoelectric polymeric films and membranes in her research. She is going to utilize the piezoelectric phenomenon to decrease deposition of particles and foulants on the surface of membranes and films in aqueous environments. Fouling is one of the most important problems in membrane and water treatment industry. Deposition of ice, space dust and other particles on surfaces is one of the major reasons of malfunctioning sensors in aerospace or marine industries. Mariam and her supervisor, Professor Hans Coster, hope their research can help in finding a solution for this costly and sometimes life threatening phenomenon.

Mariam received her B.Sc. degree in polymer engineering in 2000 from AmirKabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), Iran. Later in 2003, she finished her master degree with honours in polymer engineering from the Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute (IPPI). Her M.Sc. thesis was on fabrication of a slow release biodegradable drug delivery implant for treatment of addiction. Later, she was employed as an academic staff member in the same institute. Her outstanding academic record led to the award of "best distinguished research group" in 2006 and membership of the distinguished academic staff of the institute in 2007. Mariam came to Sydney in 2008 after receiving a generous full scholarship, the Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and International Postgraduate Award, from University of Sydney to do her PhD . She started her research with Professor Coster in October 2008 and is planning to finish her PhD in 2011. "Mariam is an outstanding student who is involved in cutting edge research on piezo-electric materials, her PhD supervisor, Professor Hans Coster, said. This award is great international recognition of her achievements and potential."

For more information about this award visit Zonta Information or contact Mariam Darestani .

Contact: Mariam Darestani

Email: 584e3c1f561a782a31352730102d045d2a2a315114114e6703303c455343