Meet a Singaporean Woman in STEM

Meet a Singaporean Woman in STEM

Meet Melissa Tan (22), a final year undergraduate in Materials Science and Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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Melissa is an avid scientist, innovator and educator. Her passion lies in developing human-machine interfaces particularly for medical care and educational uses. She also enjoys teaching and mentoring students in research and in materials engineering.

Seven years ago, as a high school student, she embarked on her very first research project, mentored by her biology teacher. Leading up to now, she has co-authored two publications, patented an invention, shared her research in international conferences, and traveled across the globe to learn and conduct research in a top research lab.

“Research is not for the faint-hearted. Being at the very edge of the discovery of new knowledge or the creation of a new technology means that failure is bound to happen. It is important to develop the resilience to try and try again despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges, because eventually, you will be the first human being to understand a new phenomenon or the first to develop a device that has the potential to help millions. That’s what keeps me going.” says Tan.

However, she describes the challenge that women scientists face even greater challenges than her male colleagues. She’s heard teachers commenting that it was not feminine for a girl to be involved in serious research in the physical sciences. “There was even fellow scholar who commented that it was more difficult for women to achieve tenured faculty positions in academia because the tenure grace period coincides with our reproductive window.”

She says she has met scientists, both men and women, who allayed her doubts about going into research and these are the mentors and role models who have guided her through this path over the years.

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Melissa is pictured here with her mentor Dr Kwok Sen Wai, holding up a conductive filament that they developed for 3-D printing electrical circuits, back in 2014.

Her advice to aspirant scientists and engineers: “It is crucial for young girls in STEM to identify role models and mentors whom they can rely on to guide them during difficult times and to give career advice.”

She hopes that more senior female scientists will share their stories of how they’ve overcome gender equality challenges so that others know that they are not alone in the struggle, and so that their younger counterparts have role models to look up to.

It’s been said that the more diverse a team is (in terms of gender, race, culture, educational background, etc), the more innovative it(team) will be. The next time you see a young girl tinkering away with a machine or playing with a chemistry set – encourage her.

We need more women in STEM!

#Womandla

My (unforgettable) United Nations experience

My (unforgettable) United Nations experience

And so everyone is asking me the roving question: “How was your trip to the United Nations?”

Amazing seems to be the automated answer, but there’s so much more to the journey than that!

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We arrived in humid Bangkok, jet-lagged and sweating like pigs. I received ample warning about the weather, but nothing can prepare one to the actual feeling.

Many delegates arrived in groups representing their communities and societies. I came to learn that I was part of the very few representing myself. Well not just myself but the vision.

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Besides the well-themed motivational talks, UN panel discussions and the remarkable, young world-changers who graced the stage with a wealth of insight and experience, what stood out for me were the individuals of the delegation.

Never have I been in a room bursting with such passion, energy and honest hunger for knowledge on how to change the world.

That kind of environment leaves one curious for more, excited to make a difference and overflowing with new ideas.

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Another invaluable opportunity was that of networking and joining forces with not only like-minded individuals, but with people who can share the vision to other communities. Making friends is so easy when your hearts are in alignment. It makes the relationships more meaningful and purposeful.

I have added the well-curated video of the journey, which leaves me tearful every time I watch it. It’s crazy to think I was part of this, I witnessed all that was happening. I will write another entry of how Womandla aims to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 in Gender Equality.

Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook  for more!

#Womandla

Tesla just welcomed black female CEO to its board.

Tesla just welcomed black female CEO to its board.

Tesla has bucked its trend of appointing mostly men to its board of directors. And the move could mark a new direction for other Silicon Valley companies as they make their leadership teams more diverse.

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Tesla recently welcomed Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice, the second woman out of a group of nine board members and the first African-American to hold that role, according to Fortune.

“We’re very excited that Tesla has named Linda Johnson Rice to the board,” Ronald C. Parker, chairman of the Alliance for Board Diversity, tells CNBC Make It. “Tesla is an innovative company and we’d like to see more blacks and women in these tech spaces.”

Tesla’s announcement this week marks a break from the more common appointment of white males to board positions.

Here’s to celebrating more women this Women’s month!

#Womandla

Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/20/tesla-adding-this-ceo-to-its-board-is-a-big-deal-for-silicon-valley.html

About the Editor

About the Editor

Meet Sam, a food enthusiast, closet comedienne and music aficionado! 

editor.jpegSamkelwe Gqomo is the Founding Editor of womandla.com, a women empowerment blog which aims to celebrate and empower women in Africa and around the globe through digital media.

Her vision for the platform is to:

1. To build networks for young scholars and professionals across the globe
2. To educate South African girls by raising funds for their tuition through digital advertising and
3. To establish online mentorship/mentee relationships for young girls.

Womandla.com uses story-telling as a tool for social innovation, community enrichment and transformation. This platform has afforded her an invitation to the United Nations in Bangkok, for a leadership symposium in August 2017.

Sam is a Marketing Executive for a software and web development company in Cape Town. In her spare time she loves to write, travel, read, curate information and try out different cuisines. She is 26 years old, a brazen Christian and visionary.

Remember her name.

#Womandla

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Womandla – The meaning behind the name

Womandla – The meaning behind the name

About the Name

The name Womandla speaks for itself. It’s a combination of Women and Amandla, Xhosa and Zulu, for power/strength.

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The fist is a symbol of unity, strength and fighting the good fight.
It also reminds me of a story in the bible where God asks Moses what he has in his hand and petitions him to use it. Once Moses got over his insecurities he began to lead and do great things with the little that he had been dealt.

Whatever gift, talent and ability you have been given, small as it may be to you, use it, also in aid of others and see how God magnifies it for His own purpose.

#Womandla

Do your heart’s work

Do your heart’s work

Ava Duvernay, is one of the trailblazing women I look up to. She is the first black woman to direct a movie with a budget of $103 million. She is an American director, screenwriter, film marketer, activist and film distributor.

She recently took to Twitter this weekend with a quote which resonated so well with me.

“Before I was able to be a full-time filmmaker, I was a weekend warrior. Writing/shooting when I could. It’s Saturday. Do your heart’s work.”

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This means we need to put in the hours in our “spare time” to achieve what we want for our lifetime.

Remember her name.

#Womandla

The UN is calling all Bloggers and Storytellers

The UN is calling all Bloggers and Storytellers

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The UN Women Ethiopia Country office, under its regional project, “African Women Changing the Narrative, is calling on interested journalists to apply for its capacity building training on “Gender Responsive Story Telling and Documenting Stories of Success” scheduled to take place 8-11 August 2017. I would enter but I will be at the UN Symposium during this time.

This project, African Women Changing the Narrative, is courtesy of a three-year grant from the Austrian Development Cooperation. It aims to highlight the contribution by African women to development through their leadership capacities and their central role in the design of innovative approaches to development. It provides a platform for the mobilization of a movement towards a revised and positive narrative from and about African women. It is also used as a platform for inspiration and information sharing of stories of impact by and for women. Consequently, the virtual platform is a brand for “Changing the Narrative” and provides a source of information and a tool for knowledge management to advance the cause of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The first journalist training was organized by UN Women Ethiopia Country Office (ECO) Liaison to the African Union and the African Union Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security under the theme, “Gender-Responsive Reporting in Conflict, Post-Conflict and Fragile settings in Africa” on 18 and 19 October 2016, followed by African Union Peace and Security Council Open Session on the “Role of the media in promoting Women, Peace and Security” on 20 October 2016. The workshop brought together journalists, editors, reporters and bloggers who cover conflict-affected areas in Africa, representing both traditional and new media, including print, audio-visual and electronic media. It also targeted media practitioners who work for Pan-African, regional and national media outlets and organisations with influential reach and key audiences.

The African Union Commission, UN Women, and the Federal Republic of Germany also organized a high- level “Women Leaders Forum for Africa’s Transformation”, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in early June, 2017. The three-day forum brought together over 80 women leaders including former Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers, Members and a Speaker of Parliament, political party leaders and presidential candidates, Cabinet Ministers, local government leaders, private sector representatives, civil society activists and young women leaders. The three-day forum culminated in the launch of the African Women Leaders Network, a new initiative that seeks to enhance the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa with a focus on governance, peace and stability. There is therefore an opportunity and possible linkage presented for direct engagement between the journalists and women leaders, as the next meeting of the African Women Leaders Network is scheduled to convene in Addis Ababa, in February 2018.

The proposed training workshop and practical engagement aim to promote gender-sensitive reporting, positive storytelling that accurately portrays African women in a positive way rather than as victims and subordinate in society.
A key element of this area will also be to popularize and populate the UN Women Platform “African Women Changing the Narrative” to key media to use it as a resource as well as to contribute content for the platform.

The training workshop will begin with a 2 day of theoretical discussion and then a two days reporting engagement where participants will have the opportunity and access to several women leaders whereby they use the skills they learnt to produce stories of changed narratives for the project website http://awctn.unwomen.org/en

UN Women arranges travel and in-country logistics for 15 participants.

More information available here.

#Womandla