Dr Carolyn Ee

Dr Carolyn Ee is one of my favourite bloggers. She is a pure example of an inspired and dedicated mum who not only does not see any contradictions between her motherhood role and her professional role but also she is brave enough to get online and promote her perspective of balancing family and work. The link below is her recent post on her perspective about combining PhD and motherhood. I feel so related to this post as I had my first baby during my PhD and the second during my postdoc. I wish I had known her earlier in my journey to take advantage of her high energy and motivation to push myself further along the track during those moments of struggling and frustration. 

http://carolynee.net/why-it-is-possible-and-beautiful-to-combine-motherhood-and-a-phd/

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Women of inspiration: Maria Forsyth

Maria Forsyth is a professor of electrochemistry from my home institute (Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University). She has been hugely successful in her career, making women really proud. She is a true role model for many young girls who dream to be scientists. She released a letter to women in STEM earlier this year for international women’s day which I believe it is worth to share it here as well. Link is provided below:

http://www.electromaterials.edu.au/news/an-open-letter-to-the-aces-women-in-science/

Women of inspiration: PiMothers

PiMothers is a platform for mothers in Tech Where they are encouraged to raise their concerns, share their experiences and provide advice for professional mothers/ mothers-to-be who don’t want to pause their career and are fighting similar battle. Dedicated platform to professional mothers is an outstanding idea in support of ambitious women and it is very aligned with “Women of Inspiration” in this space. If you are a working mother juggling full time job and family, you can share your journey here With PiMothers.

Women of Inspiration: Margaret Burgraff

The importance of having great role models and mentors is well addressed. Career-wise, having a large network of mentors from different industries with different levels of experience is critical, however for us as women, having female role models is far more critical in providing insights and vision in fighting against barriers going up the ladder. Despite underrepresentation of women in STEM, there are plenty of outstanding female role models with the huge potential to influence, inspire and empower younger girls, and I strongly believe that distributing stories of successful women is a powerful and encouraging tool to improve underrepresentation of women in STEM. In this regard, “Women of Inspiration” is dedicated to introduce great role models for younger girls and early career professionals.

Margaret Burgraff of Intel is one of my favourite. She climbed up the ladder all the way from a farm in Cork in Irland to Intel in Silicon Valley as a Vice President and general manager of Intel services division. you can read her story here. She is also an advocate of women in STEM. Her advice to women struggling with glass ceiling is: “challenge the notion of glass ceiling and refuse to be a victim”. According to her, core attributes of successful people are decisiveness, empathy, accountability, confidence, optimism, honesty, focus, inspiration and communication. To hear more insights from her watch this video here.

Social media presence of women in STEM

Last year this time, I would never imagine myself having my own blog or being highly active on Twitter. I used to believe that as a full time working mother with research and family commitments I don’t have time to waste on social media. But to be honest “I don’t have time” was only an unconscious excuse for staying within my zone of comfort. As soon as this unconscious state of my mind transformed into conscious, I decided to give it a go and soon realised that what an opportunity I was missing on.

Traditionally, attending conferences or events is a great tool for many professionals when it comes to networking and communication. However, in reality many of us don’t have the luxury of attending all our favourite conferences and events simply due to our family commitments, high cost of childcare and babysitting or travelling with family – in addition to funding problems. This is while, social media offers much more flexible resources for networking and communication for free and at the comfort of our homes. Since my boosted engagement with social media, I found Twitter to be my favourite one, as unlike other platforms, it provides an easy connection without making you to go through the hassle of sending request to a stranger and waiting for approval to get connected. This means you can reach unlimited number of people to communicate your work with no hassle. The spread of words is considerably easier and faster and you can develop virtual relationships and network easily.

My point here is that despite the generosity social media is offering in terms of availability, flexibility and ease of use, it is largely ignored by many professionals specifically women. This is while if we want to see a change in the current situation of underrepresentation of women in STEM, we need to utilise every possible opportunity to enhance the situation. The main reason for social media being ignored is probably related to the common perception linking social media to entertainment. however, apart from its entertaining aspects, there are many benefits intrinsic to social media for women in STEM which we cannot afford ignoring them such as:

  • Improving social skills and building confidence, 
  • Communicating and promoting our work,
  • Building a larger network of connections,
  • Extending our reach to the community,
  • Creating multi-disciplinary collaboration opportunities,
  • Extending the network of our mentors and mentees and providing support to each other,
  • And at last but not least who doenst like treating herself occasionally with entertainment aspects of social media?

Considering all these beneficiary aspects of social media on thing is clear: community of women is STEM cannot afford not to use social media. Sign up today to your favourite platform, if you haven’t already, raise your concerns, get heard and get connected. 

Women of Inspiration: Paola Elefante

As a high school girl I was very good with math – equally well as other boys around me, if not better. I used to hate gender stereotyping whenever in came to math and I was so glad and proud that I was proving the opposite. There are different reasons about why I didn’t choose to do math (I have to confess that sometime I regret though), but so glad that Paola Elefante did and she is a solid proof of the fact that girls are good at math too and math is not boring. She is a great woman of inspiration. Keep up the spirit Paola!
Read her story in the link below:

Mathemagic: tracking cancers with maths with Paola Elefante

http://realscientists.org/2015/09/06/mathemagic-tracking-cancers-with-maths-with-paola-elefante/