Below, we’ve rounded up 15 brilliant pieces of advice from women in STEM. Let them inspire you to find the right area of STEM for you to shine in.
Did you know? We have profiled hundreds of women in STEM combining STEM with their ‘X’ – their passion, interest or another field. So if you’re looking for role models working is science, technology, engineering and maths, head on over to our Women in STEM page. Here you’ll find a wide range of study and career paths these amazing women have taken, plus advice on how you can build your dream job too.
1. Professor Cathy Foley, AO – Australia’s Chief Scientist
“Talk to as many people as possible who can provide you with feedback on their experience. Ultimately, it’s up to you to be responsible for your own pathway.”
Read more about Cathy’s exciting yet challenging journey through her career in STEM here.
2. Barbara Van De Sande – Industrial design engineer
“Don’t be daunted by the subjects and don’t think you have to be at the top of your class to succeed. You can be middle of the road ‘average’ with your marks, as long as you have focus, passion, commitment and you enjoy it. That’s the main thing!”
Did you know? In high school, Barbara Van De Sande’s teacher told her she’d never be good enough for medical engineering. It ignited a fire in her. Read more of her story here.
3. Chrisnel Tiglao – Software QA engineer
“Do not be afraid to test the waters. If you love what you’re doing, you will surely excel and reap your reward.”
Chrisnel is working on cool new tech to help streamline our wallets! Follow her tech journey here.
4. Areej Alsheikh – Bioinformatician
“STEM is the future of careers so it’s best to hop on that train now if you have the interest.”
An interest in logic and analytical thinking led Areej down the career path of biology and microbial genomics. Get all the details here.
5. Dr Valerie Sung – Paediatrician and postdoctoral research fellow
“Follow your heart, do the things that interest you and your passion will overcome any obstacles along the way. Connect with and learn from people you aspire to be!”
6. Kasvi Luthra – Information security analyst
“Give everything a go before you decide it’s not for you – just try it out first. And take advantage of every opportunity!”
7. Genevieve Richards – Machine learning engineer
“Put yourself out there! Send an email to a company you’re interested in!.”
8. Annabelle Luu – Telecommunications engineer
“Follow your own path and do what makes you happy. Reach out to people, create connections, challenge yourself and never be afraid to try something new or pursue something you’re passionate about.”
A passion for tech landed Annabelle in a telecommunications career. Find her study and career path here.
9. Janice Vaz – Wildlife biologist
“Talk to others and get hands on experience which will help you realise what you do and don’t like about a particular career. Keep moving in the direction of what you love.”
Janice spent her childhood watching nature documentaries, and now as a wildlife biologist her 9-5 life basically is one. Find out how she made her passion her career here.
10. Yemi Penn – Rail project entrepreneur
“Be open minded, create your lane if you need to, stay connected to ‘why’ you want to be have a STEM career in the first instance and always go back to this when the going gets tough, because it will.
I think we are in an era where we need disruptive yet progressive change to see more balance in the STEM space, we have so many juicy challenges to respond to and a diverse workforce is a big response to these challenges.”
Yemi has worked on all things rail-related in a variety of non-traditional engineering roles. See her path here.
11. Patricia Gadd – Nuclear scientist
“A career in STEM will guarantee that you will never be bored. STEM careers equip you with skills that instil curiosity. You’ll continue to look for answers and solve real problems whether they be big or small for the rest of your life.”
12. Free Sobolewski – Maths undergrad
“There’s nothing you can’t learn: they’re not throwing ridiculous things at you! You’ll be fine as long as you have the dedication to your studies.”
Read more about why Free recommends studying maths here.
13. Karlie Noon – Research assistant
“You don’t have to be a typical straight-A student to do what you want to do.”
Karlie became the first Indigenous student in NSW to get a double degree in science and maths, and is now a passionate advocate for STEM. She shares more of her journey with us here.
14. Eleanor Campbell – ANSTO scientist
“Don’t feel like anything is a waste of your time.The more diverse your background and interests, the more you’re going to be able to bring to roles.”
15. Christyl Johnson – Deputy Director of Technology: NASA Goddard Center
“New approaches are surfacing every day, so never be hesitant to bring your ideas to the table. This will not only empower you but also bring diversity to that table.”
Looking for more advice from women in STEM? Check out more tips and tricks from amazing women we’ve profiled or our awesome feature on 4 women in STEM who made history. If you’re looking to celebrate International Women’s Day, check out our class guide.
Author: Louise Meers
Louise is the acting digital editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals.