“I’m from Gilgit Baltistan, the north of Pakistan. I moved to Islamabad for my undergraduate degree in environmental engineering. After graduation, I wanted to get an education abroad, but due to some financial issues I could not continue my studies further. I got a job but it was not enough for me to live in Islamabad. It was a very hard part of my life. After that I came to the USPCASW. It’s helping with my master’s in environmental engineering.

I am interested in wastewater treatment. A developing country like Pakistan cannot afford the expensive conventional treatment processes and can’t advance the technology because of low funding.

I am interested in microbial fuel cells. In conventional wastewater treatment a lot of energy is used to aerate the water. Microbial fuel cells do not require external energy. Bacteria degrades the [organic matter in the] wastewater.

The U chemistry department is already working on treating Great Salt Lake water with microbial fuel cells. I am now able to set up a fuel cell. It’s lab-scale for now. I am very passionate about learning more in this field. I hope to continue it if I get a chance to get a Ph.D. from the United States. Then I want to go back to my country and help in any way.”

— Iram Sifat, exchange student with the U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (USPCASW)

We’ll be featuring Humans of the U and sharing their stories throughout the year with the university community. If you know someone with a compelling story, let us know at