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UNSW student wins prestigious American fellowship

Emerging talent Ms Rabia Mobeen, a post-doctoral research student at the University of NSW School of Optometry and Vision Science, has received a prestigious fellowship from the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.

Mobeen, whose research has focused on the effect of age and contact lens wear on corneal inflammatory response, is the only Australian-based student among the 2020 recipients of the William C. Ezell Fellowships, recently announced by the foundation.

Born in Dubai and educated in Pakistan, she received her Bachelor’s degree and Masters in optometry from King Edward Medical University in Lahore, Punjab. She was appointed as a Faculty Fellow and lecturer and taught both graduate and postgraduate students for almost eight years before moving to Australia to undertake a PhD.

Mobeen, whose first language is Urdu, said the Ezell Fellowship was a “golden opportunity” she had dreamed of since enrolling in her bachelor’s degree.

“During my PhD, my colleagues received this fellowship. This stood out to me as something where I can use my talents, experience and skills to the best of my ability,” she said.

Mobeen’s application, which was submitted in English, included a biosketch of her qualifications, experience, awards, achievements and contribution to science. It also involved a publication bibliography, three reference letters and questions relating to her contribution to optometry.

“Ezell is a fellowship not just confined to your research or your project, they want to look at your contributions to the field of optometry. This fellowship identifies leaders who have contributed not only to research but also to education, teaching and clinical practice,” she said.

“The Ezell fellows are the persons who are believed to be the leaders in optometry. It will help me to learn more about the field as my career grows and develops.”

Mobeen was excited about the opportunities the fellowship could provide, such as networking with colleagues and collaborative efforts that could have an impact on the professional output of optometrists.

“I believe my recognition as an Ezell Fellow will significantly complement my current efforts to strengthen my research focus, improve clinical skills and advance the optometry profession. My goal is to secure an opportunity to continue my PhD research as a postdoctoral fellow in an internationally recognised institute and expand this research in contact lens-related ocular neuroimmunological responses.”

The fellowship includes two travel grants; one to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry 2020, taking place in Nashville in October; and the other to attend the annual meeting of the Association of Research and Vision Ophthalmology, in San Francisco in May, 2021.

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