The judges of the Wiley Women in Research Travel Grant Competition look forward to reading your words of inspiration to young girls interested in science. Here are theirs:
We are delighted to serve as the judges for the 2nd annual Wiley Women in Research Travel Grant Competition. Diverse perspectives are critical for the future of science, for without diverse perspectives, how can we help solve the world’s most complex problems?
Before the competition begins, we wanted to share our own words of encouragement, guidance, and at times inspiration, for the next generation of scientists.
Forge your own path
“When I first started university, I was studying for a degree in music but realised that I found it much more engaging to work out how the instrument worked than compose a three part harmony. It took courage, but I pursued what I enjoyed and eventually completed a doctorate in Physics. It's opened up the world for me - I've worked across four continents, explored different cultures and countries, and reached heights I’d never thought of. Don't be afraid to follow your strengths, admit you don't know what to do when you grow up and go exploring. You can end up somewhere better than you ever imagined!” – Dr. Mhairi Crawford
“Women and minorities are still underrepresented in science and mathematics. The data are all too clear. My vision is that this inequality of opportunity will be fixed in the next generation of scientists and researchers. You can help by insisting that you be part of this next generation. Be aware that you need to use your smarts and your network to help rise above any forces that may discourage you. The renowned woman statistician F.N. David (1909-1993) was born and raised in England. When she was a young girl, she wanted to be an actuary. At the time, however, the actuarial firms were only hiring men. David’s father told her that she would meet this kind of gender discrimination all her life, and that she should just get on with her work. She did. How did she do this? She didn’t give up the idea of doing what she loved. She found a different way to do actuarial-type work: She became an academic statistician. Your path doesn’t need to be the one that is most followed in the sciences and mathematics. In fact, if you are strategic, resourceful, imaginative, and take a road less traveled, this can often help you to do the science and mathematics that you love.” – Dr. Amanda Golbeck
“Physics opens the door for a variety of very exciting career options ranging from faculty member to film director. In addition, physics is intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun to do! However, studying physics can be very hard particularly for women because there are so few at every level. Persistence is important. Remember that most of the male students are struggling as much as the female students. It is important to find good mentors who can offer words of encouragement and advice. Mentors can also help with networking and providing guidance through one’s career. I’ve had a number of mentors that have helped me at every stage of my career. Most have been men but they are eager to see women succeed and understand the value of supporting diversity among colleagues.” – Dr. Beth Cunningham
“Science and Math are two very old sisters – but please don’t tell them I wrote they are old – that embrace each other during a long trip towards Knowledge. Why do they embrace each other? Why do they not prefer to travel on their own seats? The answer is simple: they want to leave one seat available for You, to share with a new sister the excitement of this journey toward the progress of humans and society. Please, don’t leave them alone… you never know…” – Dr. Alfredo Greco
“A career in STEM offers the opportunity to solve puzzles, give back to your community, and work with incredible colleagues. The “ah ha” moment that comes from solving a challenging problem or confirming an insight cannot be duplicated. You will work hard but you will earn immense reward from the art and craft of a career in STEM. The trajectory to a productive and rewarding STEM career is not a straight line so be confident and take risks.” – Dr. Donna LaLonde
“If you have the motivation and aptitude to become a scientist then read and study broadly—everything you learn will end up being useful. Ask your favorite science teacher, a relative or guidance counsellor for their support. Join a network or club for science on your campus. Visit science museums and learn about real science careers and women who have had them. Volunteer and learn research skills. Believe in yourself. You don’t have to give up anything in life to have a successful career in science. Be inspired by the International Day of Women and Girls in Science: http://www.unesco.org/new/international-day-of-women-and-girls-in-science/” – L. Anathea Brooks
Find others who share your interests
“The thrill of making a scientific discovery is unique. You might be part of a team, or working by yourself, but discovery is an experience that every young woman and man interested in science can aspire to. Some of us work best in research groups that contain a diverse mixture of women and men from many countries, combining their different skills and backgrounds to solve a problem; a group provides the ideal opportunity for individuals to learn and for everyone to contribute. However, some of us work best walking alone, whether on a sea-shore or a city street, or even sitting at a desk, observing and thinking. Time to explore what is best for you!” – Dr. Jeremy Sanders
“Today we work with an interdisciplinary spirit. That means that if you study computer science or mathematics , it is just a basic knowledge that you can then apply to so many disciplines: the visual simulation of human body, gaming, simulating emotions in social robots., data science, biochemistry, financial sector, e-commerce, etc. The disciplines are all open to you as now the world is digital: that means everything is simulated through equations and programs. Mathematics or/and computer science will allow you to take an active part to the new development of the four industrial revolution. Do not miss the chance to be part of this fantastic journey.” – Dr. Nadia Thalmann
“To young girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics (STEM), ask your parents and teachers to assist you in getting in touch with professionals within the field, to find out more about what it’s like to study / work within the sector. Request for a visit to where they work, and if you’re old enough, seek work experience opportunities within your STEM interest area to help gain further insight. Most companies in STEM will be happy to indulge you in the amazing work that they do applying scientific knowledge to address everyday societal needs. Strengthen your confidence in yourself, and in your chosen STEM subjects / interests by giving yourself the freedom to fail. Every great engineer or scientist knows, that trial-and-error processes are fundamental to acquiring a rounded understanding in STEM subjects. We gain new knowledge, and improve methods by having-a-go, and learning from failures where they occur. So, be free and fearless in exploring your STEM interests and most importantly, HAVE FUN!” – Dr. Ozak Esu
By working together and lifting each other up, we hope to inspire girls interested in science to stick with their interests and follow their hearts to learn everything they can.
To enter the Women in Research Travel Grant Competition and share your own words of encouragement, click here.
Happy International Women’s Day!
- L. Anathea Brooks, Steering Committee member, STEM and Gender Advancement (SAGA) project
- Dr. Mhairi Crawford, Development Director, Women in Science and Engineering Campaign
- Dr. Beth Cunningham, Executive Officer, American Association of Physics Teachers
- Dr. Ozak Esu, Electrical Engineer, Cundall, and IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year
- Dr. Amanda L. Golbeck, Associate Dean for Academic Affiars and Professor of Biostatistics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- Dr. Alfredo Grieco, Editor-in-Chief, Wiley Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies & Internet Technology Letters
- Dr. Donna LaLonde, Director of Strategics Initiatives and Outreach, American Statistical Association
- Dr. Jeremy Sanders, Deputy Chair, Athena Forum, and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge
- Dr. Nadia Thalmann, Professor and Director of the Institute for Media Innovation, NTU, Singapore