99 episodes

Hearing from real Women in STEM, about whats its really like, to exist in typically male-dominated environments. Hosted by Dr. Shini Somara.

Scilence Dr. Shini Somara

    • Technology

Hearing from real Women in STEM, about whats its really like, to exist in typically male-dominated environments. Hosted by Dr. Shini Somara.

    scilence S2: 80 Biomedical Engineering & KNOWING YOURSELF

    scilence S2: 80 Biomedical Engineering & KNOWING YOURSELF

    My guest this week, a biomedical engineer spent a year getting to know herself by spending time alone.  She got comfortable with hanging with herself and it taught her so much about who she is.  She chose biomedical engineering after suffering from an injury and now loves being able to help others through creative and medical means.  Her class is 40% women and she feels that it is necessary to find mentors and role models who can be in your own corner.  As a result, of having people who believe in er, she now has a clear sense of her own purpose.  We discuss the importance of being curious, hardworking and putting yourself out  there - despite all the self-doubt and over-analysis (classic female traits).  She discusses how terrified she is about fitting in motherhood with career, But she hopes she will have to make the sacrifice one day, because to her, motherhood will be the biggest sacrifice and biggest reward.  

    • 55 min
    Scilence S2: 80 Computer Engineering & LIVE BETTER

    Scilence S2: 80 Computer Engineering & LIVE BETTER

    My guest this week has been in technology for over 20 years, and as a result has seen a lot of change, panic and progress over the years - Y2K being an example of this.  Her career has changed largely because hardware has evolved too. 
    Despite championing the positive impacts of technology, my guest hopes that it doesn't take over our lives. Back in her day, women were not in STEM subjects, there were either males or non-males, so she was pretty trailblazing in attending an all-girls technical college.  She learned so much, including that girls could do anything. 
    This college was the place to smash through all stereotypes, because they all had to muck-in.   In her experience, girls get far more affected by stereotyping, where we keep having to prove ourselves so much more because there are so few places for us. 
    My guest was raised with the message that girls can do anything boys can do, and hence she wanted a career where she could create something of her own.  She wanted to cross-pollinate interests and challenge the norms.  She is a real problem-solver and has always had a high level of self-esteem. 
    She discusses the predicaments women face after childbirth when returning to work.  Her experience has been that women often come back to work ever more focussed.  Thankfully, she is witnessing that younger generations will not grow up with archaic stereotypes, and there are more and more role models these days, so things are getting better.  She talks about her supportive partner and how instrumental he has been to her career path. 
    The higher you go in seniority, the more you realise how much you don’t know.  Self-doubt seems to be a necessary tool for advancement and there is nothing wrong with it, we just need to be mindful not to identify with it. 
    It is important for her to set the right examples for her daughter.  My guest believes you are born the day your baby is born.  We also discuss having it all and she describes her purpose as being, to live better than she did the day before.

    • 57 min
    scilence S2: 79 Railway Engineering & REPRESENTING THE FEW

    scilence S2: 79 Railway Engineering & REPRESENTING THE FEW

    My railway engineer knew she wanted to go into STEM from an early age, which meant she should follow a career in medicine.  But she fell into engineering by accident instead, which was actually better suited for her.  She first realised that she was not easily accepted in engineering, when it was assumed that she was the secretary when at a conference. 
    Standing up for your rights requires you to have a keen sense of who you are and my guest now enjoys challenging the stereotypes with her womanliness and big afro hair.  Having felt a lot of academic pressure.  She looks back and wishes she could have done an apprenticeship.  Pressure and bullying made her drop out of school, which made her rethink her priorities.  Onto of those anxieties, she was also caring for her disabled mother and all of this hardship taught her a lot about struggle and failure.  She now has a good relationship with this things now. The net result is that she now takes full ownership of her life and is happy that she can represent the under represented. 
    She has a few mentors for the professional and emotional aspects of her life and highlights that many men have mentors too - its not just a female requirement.  She has learned to have boundaries, which she exercises when at her ‘beer appreciation group’ - which she started herself in order to bond with the guys.  Self-acceptance is at the root of her empowerment.  It took her a while to develop that.  We talk about her romantic relationship and her worry in having kids and how that will affect her career.   But, she’s lucky because her partner is very supportive of having children and being a stay at home dad. 
    My guest believes that we should be empowering men to stay at home without being laughed at.  She hopes that we are getting to a point where men can just be themselves. Let men pursue what they really want when it comes to families and let men bond with their kids, is a good way to go in the future. 

    • 57 min
    scilence S2: 79 Railway Engineering & CELEBRATE YOUR SELF

    scilence S2: 79 Railway Engineering & CELEBRATE YOUR SELF

    My guest this week enjoys challenging the stereotypes.  She felt a lot of academic pressure growing up and would have liked to have done an apprenticeship - if she could choose again.  Pressure and bullying made her drop out of school.  This made her rethink her priorities, particularly whilst having to care for her disabled mother. 
    She failed early and, as a result of this rockbottom, things are good now.  She took ownership of her life.  She is happy she can represent the under-represeneted because its important to be someone with afro hair in engineering. 
    She has a few mentors for professional and emotional issues.  Many people don’t realise, but many men have mentors too.  She has learned to have boundaries, which has been crucial for her, whilst starting a beer appreciation group to bond with the guys on her team.  Self-acceptance is at the root of her empowerment.  It took her a while to develop that. 
    Her partner never plays the dating game - she prefers relationships like that, but is also worried about how her career will be affected by having kids.  Her partner is very supportive of having children and being a stay at home dad. 
    My guest believes that men should be empowered to stay at home without being laughed at.  Hopefully we are getting to a point where men can just be themselves. Men should pursue what they really want when it comes to families, especially because this will allow them to bond with their kids.  
    All this and more o Scilence.  

    • 57 min
    scilence S2: 77 Chemical Engineering & WHAT WILL BE WILL BE

    scilence S2: 77 Chemical Engineering & WHAT WILL BE WILL BE

    My guests this week seems to take chemical engineering in her stride.  Having gone to an all girls school, she had many female friends and family that ended up in STEM and they were her inspirations and role models.  For her, it seems like the most impactful experience was doing a placement in a chemicals company.  It was here that she realised the value of working in diverse and inclusive teams as a woman of colour. 
    This industrial experience allowed her to gauge what kind of career would make her happy.  Fitting motherhood into her life scares her - she literally has no clue on how to negotiate her way through that, hopefully she’ll figure it out!  Companies seems to be more supportive of parenthood these days. 
    Her attitude is straightforward and she tries to keep things simple, even when things get challenging.  I guess thats why she comes across as being a truly optimistic person.    

    • 42 min
    scilence S2: 76 Science Journalism & FINDING YOUR VOICE

    scilence S2: 76 Science Journalism & FINDING YOUR VOICE

    My guest, a science writer, this week always wanted to try and understand things from their roots.  She is obsessed with understanding systems, but in order to do that successfully, one has to understand the smaller cogs - hence where her mathematical background came into good use.   
    She is very values driven, needing to understanding how science fits into the greater context of politics, philosophy and generally being human.  She always had the confidence to ask questions and speak up for herself and struggled to conform or gossip.  Her strong accent allowed her to get away with being aggressive, without being alienated. She speaks her mind, but she is not controversial.  Fairness and justice is essential to her DNA.  She doesn’t shy away from seniority.
    Going to a good university was shock to her system, unlike her earlier years, she found that she wasn’t the most intelligent in her class anymore.    Being made redundant was the worst thing and best thing that happened to her. We discuss the resulting humility gained from these experiences.  
    She cares about being seen as being worthy of an opinion.  Being understood is the main thing for her.  Finding your voice.  In this episode we talk a lot about the differences between corporate and  freelance work and the differences in personalities that are required. She wears her freelance existence with pride.  She doesn't apologise for being the way she is.  Life depends on choice.  It depends on what you want to do - what do you want?  As always, to be fulfilled, these questions need to be faced.  

    • 1 hr 10 min

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