Mentors out to debunk stereotypes

151212 mentoring girls

THE  Girls2Pioneers campaign  has  mustered  a roster  of  23  prominent women  working  in  science, technology,  engineering and  mathematics  (Stem)  to act  as  programme ambassadors  and  mentors to  the  girls.

A*Star researcher Yeo Sze Ling became an ambassador last January.  Dr  Yeo,  37,  who  is  also  an adjunct  assistant  professor at  Nanyang  Technological University,  said:  “To  me, it’s  not  so  much  about  the Stem  field  specifically,  but to  learn  not  to  be constrained  by  general stereotypes  to  pursue  our aspirations.”

She  lost  her  sight  at  the age  of  four  after  being diagnosed  with  glaucoma, but  went   on  to  get  her  PhD in  Mathematics.

For  Dr  Melissa Fullwood,  31,  volunteering as  an  ambassador  is  a  way to  become  the  role model  she  wishes  she  had had.

The  junior  principal investigator  at  the  Cancer Science  Institute  said: “There  are  very   few  senior female  scientists,  role models  whom  you  can  look up  to  and  say,  ‘I  could  be like  her’.”

Google  sales  strategy and  operations  associate Cassie  Chan  has volunteered  at  four  day camps  so  far,  including  a recent  one  at  Tanjong Katong  Girls’  School  last month.

Said  the  30-year-old:  “I do  strongly  believe  that  as women  in  technology  or  in Stem,  we  have  a  strong role  to  play  to  show  people we’re  not  your stereotypical  scientist.  We don’t  just  talk  code,  we  are fun,  normal  and  just  like them.  Stem  is  not  narrow. There’s a role in Stem for everyone.”

 

Olivia Ho

The Straits Times

Saturday, June 20, 2015

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