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The Faculty Diversity Office (FDO) interviews an employee of the Faculty of Science on a monthly basis about a book, a film or something else that has inspired them on the theme of Diversity. This month in Faces of Science Park: Marwa Ahmed.

Marwa Ahmed, master's student Molecular Neuroscience, is in the middle of finishing her literature thesis and organizing the online event Faces of Science Park (February 11). She recently received the ECHO STEM award for her contributions to making our faculty more inclusive, which was a great reason for us to interview her.  

When asked, what should we read, watch or listen to? Marwa answered with a book recommendation A people's history of the US by Howard Zinn, the essay A coat that fits and three TV series you must have seen. 

 I want to talk about all your recommendations, I say when we finally find time for an interview via Zoom. "But don't make it too long," says Marwa, who is not only the interviewee but also the editor-in-chief of this column. 

"A People's History of the US does a good job of showing how a system can fail and explains a lot of the misery that is going on now. Both in terms of racism and socio-economic problems people end up in, in addition it also discusses the situation of women and how they stand up for their rights."

We also share our anger about the term "part-time princess" in the TV series Why don't women work? "You can never do well as a woman in the Netherlands; if you work full-time then you fall short as a mother, if you work part-time then you don't think enough about your career and you're not worthy of your studies," Marwa remarks. At that point we have to interrupt our Zoom conversation because I have to wipe someone's buttocks.

We end our conversation with the TV show Schuldig. A documentary series by the same makers of the much-discussed Klassen, about people from the Vogelbuurt in Amsterdam Noord who get deeper and deeper into debt. "We live in a meritocracy but not everyone has the same opportunities to thrive. The people you see in Schuldig are just brutally disadvantaged by the system. It should be forbidden to order all kinds of things from Wehkamp at exorbitant interest rates," Marwa says passionately.

Do you think you’ll ever go into politics? I ask her. She shakes her head. Marwa is a die-hard STEM student and aspires a career in science. She concludes with the message that as STEM students and researchers we must look beyond our own field; the disciplines need each other if we want to change anything in the world.