Mehr's story:

I am Mehr Fatima and I come from Pakistan. As far back as I can remember I have been a science and technology enthusiast. I took subjects such as Mathematics and Physics at a very early stage in life and was boggled by the vastness of knowledge I could charter in these subjects. After attaining first class throughout my secondary and higher secondary education, I chose Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) – one of the top engineering universities in Pakistan for undergraduate studies in electronics engineering. In order to remain abreast with the latest research work in the field of electronics and broaden my horizon, I became an active member of IEEE International during my undergraduate period. This is where I got my first exposure to the field of Photonics and optical physics and I realized that this was some-

thing I wanted to pursue. I served as Vice Chair for Women in Engineering (WIE) – IEEE GIKI Branch). My bachelor’s final year project was “Laser based Computerized PCB (Printed Circuit Board) machine.”

Right after my graduation, I started working as a Management Trainee in National Foods. After seven months, I switched my job to Pakistan Telecommunication Limited and worked as an ‘Assistant Manager’. I worked in the optical telecommunication department, which further motivated me to get a degree in photonics and optical telecommunications. I looked into the masters courses being offered in Europe and the one at University of Eastern Finland attracted me the most.

Currently, I am a master’s degree student in photonics at UEF. UEF is located in Joensuu, which is a calm and peaceful student city with very friendly people. The degree at UEF is a right balance of theoretical learning and experimental work. The next big question for me during my degree was which subfield of photonics I wanted to work in. The answer lied in my first lab work - designing, fabrication and characterization of a dispersive spectrometer (in the visible and NIR range). After the completion of my first year, I decided to go for an internship and by that time, I was sure that it had to be in spectroscopy. I applied in the ultrafast optics and X-Ray division at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron – DESY and got selected for a project named ‘Construction of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer for the characterization of home-built laser’.

After completing my summer internship and course work, I started working as a master thesis student at National Metrology Institute of Finland VTT MIKES on ‘Radiocarbon detection using photoacoustic spectroscopy’ in the isotope spectroscopy group. In the future, I would work as a research scientist at VTT and continue my research work in the field of laser spectroscopy. Undoubtedly, the field of photonics has numerous areas of research that can bring revolution. I, for sure want to be a part of it.