Saturday, January 20, 2018

We encourage women to apply

I am constantly searching for PhD openings and tenure track positions (to make sure it is still possible to get jobs in academia). Recently, I came across 1 PhD position and 1 tenure track position in civil engineering. They both were from best universities in one of the most developed countries. At the end of job description, they added a small note “we encourage women to apply”. This sentence really broke my heart. I always thought those countries had gender equality for decades and now why add such a note? If someone is qualified, or almost qualified for the job, they would apply no matter of race, gender etc.

On the other side that sentence really made me think deep. Growing as a young researcher I see myself very well developed in some skills than many of my men competitors. I never ever had fear of applying to a job, scholarship or whatever it is because I am woman even though I come from a country where man is a little more dominant than woman. But is there really woman out there who does not apply for a position they are qualified for? If this is the really case then the problem we are having is way bigger than gender equality. 

My understanding of lack of woman in STEM or any other field was number of women who qualified was very limited for jobs, so I thought we needed to raise more educated woman so they can show up man dominated work places, industries.

I will keeping following this topic to what actually the problem is. At my full time job, my manager is a man and I have 3 women and 3 men working with me. On my research project, however, I am working with 4 man professors. It is more tragic in academia than industry jobs if my small experience can be referenced. So how to solve this? How can we encourage woman to pursue higher degrees and stay in academia?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Women of STEM

A few weeks ago, I came across a post on Twitter that they were looking for participants for women of stem blog. Even though I am new to this whole blogging thing, I am really enjoying and want to contribute as much as possible.

Women of STEM is a webpage interviews women in different fields of STEM. Each women answers a few questions such as what’s their typical day looks like to what are the challenges you’re facing. I believe this is a great way to create a database of how women in STEM created their own success and this will be inspiring for new tech girls that are raising. I am keeping my post short and inviting you to take a look at the website. Here is my post as well.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Some students present more than others on conferences and here is why

For a few years now, I am pretty confident about leading a group, presenting in front of others. I have a pretty good accent and clear load voice and if I have an opinion I would rather discuss it even if I’ll end up being all wrong.

My biggest goal when I was going to masters was, I wanted to attend many conferences and speak about my research. I was even at a point that I would pay both the attendance fee and accommodation cost myself.

I wanted to work with one professor as my chair and another professor as co-chair. I wanted to have chair’s name, because he is very well known and work with co-chair because my interests fits his research interests.

At the end of first year of my masters, my chair recommended me to present a paper on a conference he was a keynote speaker. I loved the idea because the conference was partially organized by professors in Celal Bayar that taught me during my bachelors. His comment was I will be there to support you and we can write something together. I quickly ran to my co-chair and told him about this and he had a weird look. All he said was “well I don’t think you know enough of anything to be able to present”. He also explained me why it is better for me to wait until I have all the information on such topic and be able to defend my point of view even if I had many unique questions. Both of them made sense to me. I ended up NOT presenting at the conference.

When I look at it now, I am very disappointed at myself. My mistake wasn’t that I wanted to present at a conference. My mistake was I was expecting them to give me a subtopic so I can present at the conference. If I had few ideas and a rough draft, I am sure my co-chair would say the same thing, however I would find the strength in myself to convince him why I should present.

I ended up completing my master’s degree (with thesis) without any conference paper and I am just finding the courage (after more than 1 year of graduation) to write an article paper from my thesis. I am not blaming my chair or co-chair (I had to make change in my committee), however, I personally think that the sooner it is he better. Of course it is odd for someone to stand up and speak about something and not being able to answer any questions, however, it is all part of the process.

If you’re at a similar point, just take a moment to think which one you would regret more after a few years and decide for yourself. Committees change and there will always be questions and sometimes you won’t know the answer, you will practice the way to deal with things you don’t know exactly but come up with an idea.