Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, a 2018 alumni of Cornell Information Science’s PhD program and today an assistant professor in the department of computer science at the University of Toronto, has been named a Fulbright Centennial Fellow, one of four fellows selected worldwide.

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Ishtiaque Ahmed
Ishtiaque Ahmed
“This fellowship is a great honor for me,” said Ahmed, who was an International Fulbright Science and Technology Fellow for the first three years of his PhD at Cornell. During that time, he met other fellows who were completing their PhDs at different, reputed universities in the U.S. 

“They all were super-talented and were doing great research projects,” he said. “It was really a great, pleasant surprise for me when I knew I was selected as one of the four fellows in this very select pool of talented researchers from all around the world.”

As a Centennial Fellow, Ahmed will expand his research on electronic waste, a focus that was born out of his PhD work at Cornell with his advisor, Information Science Chair and Professor Steve Jackson. His advising committee also included Info Sci’s Dan Cosley and Nicola Dell.

“I conducted ethnography in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with the mobile-phone repairers there. That allowed me to see and understand the challenges of the lives of e-waste workers,” Ahmed said. “My current focus is on making the e-waste workers aware of this problem, develop a bottom-up movement against environmental injustice through broken electronics, and develop appropriate technologies to support the e-waste workers.” 

As a faculty member at the University of Toronto, Ahmed developed and currently serves as director of Third Space, a research group that primarily aims to inform the design of computational tools and systems to serve marginalized communities in development countries. 

The Fulbright program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).