Wentcher Blog scholar spotlight (2)

Alumni Spotlight: Maryam Hanif

A Rogers Park native, and Lincoln Park High School alumna, Maryam Hanif has lived and traveled extensively overseas since beginning her professional career in the medical device industry. 


Maryam graduated with a degree in Bioengineering from UIC in 2009, and returned to UIC for a Master’s Degree in Bioengineering, with a concentration in Neural Engineering. She completed her graduate studies in 2012. 

After graduation and before COVID, Maryam moved to the UK for some worldly experience in her industry. During this time, she worked for a medical device company that made infusion pumps, a device used to infuse fluid that a patient would need that also allows the clinician to be able to monitor the amount of fluid the patient receives. 


Calling Manchester home, Maryam spent quite a bit of time touring the UK and the surrounding areas. She visited Morocco, Ireland, Turkey, Iceland, and a few other places. Most notably, she recalls seeing her first shooting star in Dalaman, Turkey. Also, during one of her excursions to Wales, she climbed Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. She told us that prior to this experience, she had never climbed anything that high before, and so she felt a bit unprepared for the hike. Her status as a Snowdon novice and a broken shoe contributed to a knee injury that she suffered during the hike. However, that is not going to stop her from trying again. Although she got hurt, she says that it was an amazing experience, and she hopes to do it for charity sometime in the future. 


We asked her what she learned during her time abroad, and she told us that she gained a new appreciation for UK culture. She loved how easy it was to travel through the area and have many different countries and cultures available to her. She said she also misses the food staples such as fish and chips, and mushy peas. On her job, Maryam learned just how COVID impacted the medical device market up close. Lastly, on a personal note, Maryam said that she appreciates her loved ones more. Maryam returned to Chicago during COVID, but it wasn’t an easy journey. She experienced a long wait time to be able to travel outside of the UK, and long wait times in airports after finally being able to make the trip back to the U.S..


Currently, Maryam is working for a Med-tech start up in the Bay Area. Her role is in developing point-of-care diagnostics, with a focus on women’s health and respiratory care. She is very proud of the work she does at the company working with the CEO to make structural changes at the company and making strides in women’s health. As COVID still poses a global threat, the company is working towards launching a diagnostic device for COVID that allows for high sensitivity results within 30 minutes. Currently similar tests can take up to 48-hour wait for results, which delays management and treatment for life-threatening infectious diseases. The company is working to make the device accessible, in places such as houses of worship, workplaces, schools, and other places where people gather.  

We asked Maryam what someone as busy as she does to de-stress, and she told us that she enjoys reading books, painting, kayaking, and kickboxing. She says she learned to swim in the UK because she wanted to try surfing, and that she loves spending time in the water. Maryam likens herself to a Pygmy Hippo dancing around in the water. She kickboxes to help her build her core strength. Maryam is CPR certified and volunteers for a medical emergency response team. The kickboxing helps keep her strong in case her help is ever needed in a natural disaster. 

We at the Wentcher Foundation are so proud of Maryam’s accomplishments and can’t wait to see what she does in the future. 

Picture of Author: Nia Harris

Author: Nia Harris

Currently living in NYC, Nia Harris is a NYU graduate and Fulbright Scholar working for the Wentcher Foundation as the Program Associate. She writes for her own blog, Nashari which you can find here.

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