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May 19, 2021

Postdoc Anahid Ebrahimi honored for outstanding work in fostering inclusion

Written By: Adam Malecek


Anahid Ebrahimi, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is one of the nine people recognized with UW-Madison Postdoc Excellence Awards in 2021.

 Anahid Ebrahimi
Anahid Ebrahimi

The UW-Madison Postdoctoral Association, a volunteer-led advocacy group for postdocs supported by the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, launched the awards to honor postdocs for their outstanding efforts in these areas.

Ebrahimi earned the Postdoc Excellence Award in Service. The recipients of the service award are judged on leadership, their work to identify unmet needs, and for engagement.

“I am truly honored to have received the Postdoc Excellence Award in Service in part for forming the Graduate Women in Mechanical Engineering group and for co-chairing the UW Postdoc Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee with James Romero-Masters,” Ebrahimi says. “I hope that my efforts have helped to create inclusive environments and enhanced experiences for individuals from underrepresented groups at UW-Madison.”

Ebrahimi has been instrumental in developing educational initiatives for the UW Postdoc Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, such as an anti-racism learning group for postdocs. She co-hosted several social and networking events to connect and support postdocs from historically underrepresented groups, most recently for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and women in STEM.

In 2018, Ebrahimi formed the Graduate Women in Mechanical Engineering group, which aims to foster a supportive community for graduate and postdoc women in mechanical engineering and related disciplines at UW-Madison. The group hosts a variety of events, including networking opportunities in which members can meet with visiting women seminar speakers to ask personal, professional, research and career questions.

“I am especially thankful to Imogen Hurley, director of the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, for advising and championing the UW Postdoc Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee,” Ebrahimi says. “I would also like to thank my research advisor, Professor Darryl Thelen, for his tremendous support of the Graduate Women in Mechanical Engineering group and for being an amazing mentor to me over the last three years.”

A member of the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab, Ebrahimi focuses on understanding the mechanics that drive how humans walk with a gait disorder, such as cerebral palsy.

In addition, Ebrahimi recently co-founded the International Women in Biomechanics organization with the goal of increasing representation of women in the biomechanics field. In less than a year, it has grown into a community with more than 500 members from more than 20 countries.

Ebrahimi is also an advisory board member of the Perry Initiative, a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire high school girls to pursue careers in orthopedic surgery and related engineering fields. She helped lead efforts to bring the Perry Initiative’s outreach programs to Madison for the first time in 2019.