Celebrating Women in STEM

Celebrating Women in STEM

This year for International Day of Women and Girls in Science we spoke with students to learn how they developed their passion for science.

We spoke with students from different fields of science to learn how they got their start. Join us as we lean into the aspirations and influences that led these four women into the world of STEM.

Alana Pham, who is studying a double degree of Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Science, says her friends and female teachers are “her biggest driving force”.

“Growing up I always had a curiosity for the world of STEM, even if I didn’t know what it was called at the time. I was interested in how things ‘worked’, whether that be the human body or plant life,” says Alana. 


Alana Pham

It was when I entered high school that I found my closest friends to be the biggest driving force in my desire to pursue STEM. 

"My STEM teachers, who were also women, gave me a glimpse of what it would look like being in that space."

“If I didn’t have those positive personal role models in my life supporting and encouraging my decision to go into STEM, I would have never known how capable I was,” she said.

Aviation student, Niyona Girish, is studying to become a pilot. From an early age Niyona developed a genuine interest in “everything related to the sky and space”.

“During my school vacations, I used to travel with my family to see my father overseas. I remember being amazed as I waited by the boarding gate to see the pilots walk by.


Niyona Girish

As I grew older, my fascination with airplanes evolved into a genuine interest in the science of flight and everything related to the sky and space.

“This prompted me to concentrate on STEMM subjects, and while I did not have a specific dream job title in mind when I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to work in aviation. 

“Pursuing vocational education at RMIT with an Advanced Diploma of Engineering (Aeronautical) enabled me to learn more about the industry and discover my interests. By completing this course, I was granted a pathway to the Bachelor of Aviation program, which will enable me to become a professional pilot while learning about the operational aspects of the aviation industry.”

Sidhra Fernando-Plant, who is studying a Bachelor of Computer Science, was won over to STEM when she discovered a “creative side to coding”.

“My dad is a Software Engineer, and always encouraged me to try coding from a young age. Though I initially did not enjoy it and did not ever see myself becoming a Software Engineer, after trying web development in school I saw a more creative side to coding. I quickly became enamoured with the problem solving and creativity involved in designing a website," said Sidhra.


Sidhra Fernando-Plant

My high school IT teachers and my dad always supported and encouraged me which influenced me to see STEM as something I could pursue. 

"They helped me to feel like I belonged in STEM even when I sometimes felt as if I was out of place due to a lack of female peers," shared Sidhra. 

Zainab Ismail Ahmed decided to pursue a career in dentistry, after a general check-up gave her all new direction.

“Growing up I wanted to be a teacher. I enjoyed working with kids but as I grew older, I wanted to change my career to helping people," said Zainab.


Zainab Ismail Ahmed

I became fascinated by science when I went for a general check-up at a dental clinic. I was inspired by the dentist who could help people improve their smile.

RMIT university offered me a pathway to get into science. I have completed the course from Certificate III in Science and Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques. Now that I am undertaking my Diploma of Laboratory Techniques, I am looking to enter Biomedical Science to further get into Dentistry,” said Zainab.

07 February 2023


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.