Women of Distinction
The 38th annual YMCW-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards were held on May 7 in Winnipeg and two University of Manitoba community members were among the 13 women honoured and celebrated.
Zahra Kazem Moussavi, Professor of electrical and computer engineering, and a Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering, was honoured in the Science, technology, and the environment category.
Moussavi grew up in Iran in the 1960s and at that time girls did not receive the same quality of education as boys. She did not let that halt her progress. She challenged the odds and herself and eventually earned a PhD. Today, her research is providing crucial insights into disease. Her work focuses on respiratory and swallowing disorders, as well as the early diagnosis and rehabilitation of patients with Alzheimer’s and neurological damage. Using digital signal processing and mathematical modeling to develop new perspectives of human organs and the underlying mechanisms of certain diseases, Moussavi’s research will develop methods for early diagnosis, rehabilitation and, or, monitoring of diseases affecting certain bodily systems.
The Young Woman of Distinction award went to UM student Akosua Bonsu.
Bonsu has been volunteering since age 12 with organizations such as Operation Christmas Child, Christmas Cheer Board, and Siloam Mission, as well as year-round commitments at the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg. Fluent in English, French, and her native language, Twi, she has always been driven to help others while learning more about the relations between foreign countries. Bonsu has participated in development missions in the past, serving as the 2011 Africa Pavilion Female Youth ambassador to Ghana and Nigeria.
She has told others that she has hopes of becoming either a paediatrician or a Foreign Service Officer.