How you are making your own mark?
At the age of 26 (youngest of all my peers) I am making my mark as a University Lecturer, Environmental/Spatial Scientist and a voice for my students and community. I have been inspiring and educating the younger generations to pursue a career in STEM. In addition to this, I have been invited by different universities around the globe to collaborate on different research projects and deliver professional development sessions for teachers.
What advice would you give to others (girls/women) about following careers in non-traditional industries?
You’re valuable and so is your time, so be confident in your abilities and self-promote. We all have equal opportunity, so don’t let people talk you down or take advantage of you. Stand up and speak up! Say ‘yes’ to opportunities that present themselves, even if you don’t have direct experience in the role. Back yourself, be true to your values and be clear on your priorities. Be courageous and confident in your abilities. Have the desire to learn – it’s ok not to know everything. It’s amazing how at the beginning of the day/week/project we might feel overwhelmed by the enormity of a task, but dig in, focus, and ask questions and it won’t be long before others are coming to you for advice.
What or who has influenced your career pathway?
During my school days, I used to be fascinated by different real-life examples of science such as why air is used to fill the tyres of a bicycle. what was the origin of the human body? Why do people have different blood groups and eye colors? why climate changes are happening in our environment? I used to ask these questions to myself and used to investigate the answers. While investigating the answers, I think I developed a strong interest in STEM and decided to pursue a career in it afterwards.
What successful strategies have you used that have helped you transition to working in a non-traditional industry?
I have always believed in this notion ” If you set your sights on and the intention to do hard work is strong, your feet will get you there”. My continuous determination to achieve excellence in my areas of expertise has been the root of these strategies. In addition to this, networking has played a valuable role in assisting me in this transition. I tried my level best to attend as many networking events as I can to learn from the leaders in my industry and skills that can help me while I transition. Last but not the least, I have always remained patient and never compared my journey with anyone else as, at the end of the day, you have YOURSELF.
How did you get started in your career pathway and what helped you along your career journey?
Right from my school days, I was quite passionate about science and later in the University I developed a strong interest in communicating science. I lived in a small town based in India with limited resources, wherein it was believed that girls from small towns/ regional areas cannot have careers in STEM. With the continuous support from my parents at every step I was able to pursue my ambition. In addition to this, I have been blessed with amazing teachers and my mentors throughout my school and university life who have played a strong role in this journey by supporting me wherever needed. I am proud to say my career journey is inspiring many girls out there in my hometown who are quite curious to pursue a career in STEM.
In school what subjects did you enjoy most or were good at?
Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths, Geography and Social Sciences.
What did you want to be or do when you left school. How does this compare with where you are now?
I enjoyed investigating and researching while at school but used to be a bit introvert while communicating my knowledge with people. While studying at University, I participated in many social development activities and public speaking events which helped me a lot in boosting my confidence. Now, I use these skills to communicate science to a wide range of audiences including teaching at the University. I think along with the research, it is very important to communicate science as it leads to better engagement and understanding of science disciplines.
What are your qualifications?
I have a Bachelor of Science- in Biochemistry (Honours) from Panjab University, Chandigarh (India) followed by a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of South Australia (Australia).
What are some of the coolest things you like about working in your industry?
I am very fortunate to teach different STEM courses to students at the University of College. This includes subjects in diverse areas such as Chemical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Geology, Wine Science, Food Sciences and Environmental Sciences. I believe some of the coolest things I like about working in this area is that every day is a new challenge and something different for me as I have been involved in different areas of science. I believe that every student has his own potential and that’s why I use a variety of differentiation strategies while I teach to make sure that the students enjoy and feel engaged regardless of their background. In addition to this, since I have been involved in the industry as well in the last few years, I try to level best to educate my students on the importance of STEM and how a STEM career can help shape their lives and of course our nation. I am proud to say that my students see me as a mentor in their career growth.