Dura's story:

I am Dura Shahwar and currently doing MSc. Photonics from university of eastern Finland. Initially, when I was asked to talk about my journey till here, I was pretty confused because it felt like a responsibility as perceptually your journey would have to be worth sharing and I feel like having a long way to go to be that successful. In anyways, I was born and brought up in my native town Chakwal, Pakistan, blessed with a healthy family comprising of the supportive parents and siblings. Growing up with my siblings and the couple of friends I had at that time, who helped me to grow as a person; I crossed the borderline of my college life. Being highly interested in science and technology since quite a good time, I felt no difficulty in recognizing the Electronics Engineering as the degree, which perfectly triggered my interests. I got into

the University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila, Pakistan and started my life full of experiences. I made quite a feat when it comes to my academic performance. I served the International Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), CES Chapter as the general secretary where I got a chance to build my professional as well as personal expertise Besides the academic, I have experienced to work with two firms as “National Development Complex [National Engineering and Scientific Commission]” and ‘’Bestway Cement Limited’’.

Subjects related to electromagnetic fields, optoelectronics, and internships experience in fiber optics and optoelectronic sensors, triggered my interest to study more about photonics and its combination with electronics circuits. My desire to learn Photonics and experience a different culture and a different study environment altogether encouraged me to apply to the foreign universities. Because I know that, nothing can be achieved without stepping out of the box.

MSc. Photonics program at University of Eastern Finland attracted me more because of diverse combination of courses and lab works offered. Because of this degree program, I got opportunity to work with VTT technical research Centre of Finland, a well-known research institute. I am now doing my Master thesis research work in Silicon photonics at VTT, which emerged as the replacement technology for electronic circuits. This research work helped me to explore polarization state of light and its applications in telecommunication for broadband operations. Further, I learned some free-form optics concepts in silicon photonics based integrated circuits.

As far my experience with Finnish people and culture is concerned, I feel lucky to live in such a peaceful and organized culture. Finnish people are very collaborative and helping in every matter. I have made many memories and friends from different nationalities during my stay. I would prefer to continue my research work in Finland.

In future, I would like to pursue my career as a researcher in silicon photonics especially in designing and fabrication of ultra-miniaturized and compact integrated photonic devices.