Computing the right fit
Yasmin Kassim’s love of computer science began as a child in Baghdad, tagging along to her father’s workplace.
That love has taken her to the brink of her Ph.D., led to multiple publications and awards and saw her selected to participate in the prestigious Computing Research Association Grad Cohort for Women recently.
The Grad Cohort for Women took place in San Francisco this year, and the event’s purpose is to help high-achieving women in graduate school to build mentoring relationships and develop peer networks with some of the field’s best and brightest professionals.
Kassim’s work has been more than worthy of such a lofty opportunity. She developed her interest in computer science while attending work with her father, who was an expert and IT professional for the Iraq Ministry of Oil. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from University of Technology in Baghdad and worked as a lecturer for six years in Al-Nahrain University before being selected by the Iraqi government to complete her Ph.D. in the United States.
“I’m the youngest daughter, so I always went with him. And I saw those big mainframes, and from that time, I really loved computer engineering,” Kassim said of her father.
The program placed her at the University of Missouri in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department (EECS), where she has worked in the CIVA lab, supervised by Professor Kannappan Palaniappan.
“I like the city here, the people here, the department,” Kassim said. “And Dr. Pal. Everything was perfect.”
She took that love of computer science and decided to apply it to the biomedical realm. She’s currently working with the School of Medicine and Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital on a project that looks at the impact of estrogen therapy on microvasculature blood vessel structures in the brain. Since joining MU, Kassim has received a scholarship from the Higher Committee for Education Development (HCED) in Iraq, has been credited on 10 publications, and she will participate in the Medical Informatics Training Program with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this summer before graduating in 2019. Additional accolades include:
- 2017 Outstanding EECS Ph.D. Student Award
- 2017 Guest of Honor Award from the Women in Engineering Center
- National Science Foundation Professional Development Award from the iREDEFINE Workshop
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 2016 Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Finalist Certificate
“The biomedical part, I just love it,” Kassim said.
She also has tremendous love for her family, and her husband and two sons traveled to Columbia with her as she works to complete her studies. Her sons are in seventh and fourth grade.
Time management is of the utmost importance. Given all she’s accomplished as a student and her skillful raising of two young sons, it’s safe to say time management isn’t a problem. And it’s that dedication to her craft that has her on the verge of going from the young girl who fell in love with the machines at her father’s workplace to Dr. Kassim.
“When somebody loves something, they’ll work hard for it,” she said.