Prof. Ying CHAU and Undergraduate Anushka PUROHIT Celebrated at AmCham’s Women of Influence Awards

A School of Engineering professor and undergraduate were recognized for their strong support and advocacy for women’s empowerment and leadership in their careers at the 18th Annual Women of Influence (WOI) Conference & Awards, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham) and the WOI committee.

Prof. Ying CHAU, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was named the “Leading Woman in STEM”. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Prof. Chau joined HKUST in 2006 after receiving her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the Founding Director of the Student Innovation for Global Health Technology (SIGHT), an undergraduate education platform that transforms passion and creativity of students into innovative solutions for healthcare problems around the world.

Prof. Chau was cited for her strong entrepreneurial as well as academic skills, with her work generating far-reaching impact and truly making the world a better place. “In an academic environment, it is rare to find a senior professor with a deep research portfolio and engaged in research commercialization who is also devoted to societal impact as well as undergrad education. Prof. Chau is one of those rare professors who excel in research, commercialization, and education.”

Prof. Chau said, “It is my honor to be listed alongside many amazing finalists in this award. I am thankful to HKUST for the opportunity to realize my calling as a mentor. My roles in the department and in SIGHT allow me to share my experience with young talents, and to witness how my work helps them make a greater impact on society.”

Year 4 Electronic and Computer Engineering undergraduate Anushka PUROHIT was named the “Young Achiever of the Year”. To tackle the bread waste problem in Hong Kong, Anushka co-founded the food upcycling start-up Breer with her HKUST teammates. They collect unsold, uneaten and surplus bread and use it to brew local craft beer, which is now sold in restaurants of major food chains, local bars, and retail outlets.

Anushka was cited for her impressive achievements on sustainability and for accomplishing so much while still being a student. “She has shown her strong commitment to address this environmental and social issue on food waste. Her work will make a significant change in the community.”

Anushka said, “I am so grateful for opportunities like this one to share my mission, represent the youth and inspire many such initiatives! I’m especially grateful for the support provided by my family and HKUST, always allowing me to break the glass ceiling!”

Winners in the 10 categories of the AmCham 2021 Women of Influence Awards were selected from more than 100 nominees. The awards ceremony was held in November 2021 and joined by nearly 350 of the leading figures in support of women’s empowerment.

The awards were launched in 2003. Past winners included HKUST’s Vice-President for Research and Development Prof. Nancy IP, who was named the Leading Woman in STEM in 2019.

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About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) ( is a world-class research university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science.  HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking.  HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is ranked as the world’s best young university in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2019.  Its graduates were ranked 16th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global University Employability Survey 2018.

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