Telling Our Stories – Aayesha

Each year we meet wonderful women at womENcourage. This year was no different, and in the rest of the year, we will have womENcourage participants telling their stories in blog posts. This month’s blog post is by  Aayesha from Islamabad, Pakistan. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Computer Science from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Pakistan. Her current research focuses on automating the detection of epileptic seizures using machine learning techniques. At the same time, she works with a PhD scholar on a data analytics project from the education domain.

My Adventurous Journey in Technology 

It was when I passed High school with an A+ grade, I wanted to become a doctor. Despite my efforts, I could not get admission to any medical college in the region because it was extremely competitive. At that moment in my life, I became highly disappointed, but my parents and siblings’ support made me realize my potential. I was completely blind about what should I do next. Then I decided to change my domain and eventually shifted towards computer science, following my brothers, who were already computer professionals. 

Since I had no education in computer science basics, no educational institute agreed to enrol me except a virtual university where I also had to take some additional courses as prerequisites. At the start, I had to face several difficulties, especially in typing speed and becoming familiar with software for daily use. Still, I became determined to make myself computer proficient by doing work hard. Alongside my studies, I learned website development and mobile application development for Android. Furthermore, I voluntarily worked for Drupal Camps, which brings together students from different universities for website development. 

When I enrolled for MS in computing, I was confused about picking my research topic, and I could not find assistance from my teachers. After several days of searching on the web, I chose machine learning-based epilepsy detection as a research topic. I wrote a complete thesis on this topic as well as two research articles. 

While everything has stopped due to COVID lockdown, I searched on Google to do something exciting and eventually learned about a poster competition for a womENcourage scholarship. My poster application was accepted, and I presented it as my first-time presentation on any international women platform. It was a great experience; moreover, I learned a lot because all the conference sessions were highly informative, especially the ones on big data analytics. 

In the future, I wish to pursue my research and present more innovative approaches for automatic epileptic seizure detection. I am highly motivated to develop a diagnostic system that would be employed in hospitals at a small cost while performing the medical treatment of epilepsy patients. 

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