From October 24 to 27 2019, women engineers from all over the world came together for the Rising Stars, Women in Engineering Workshop, organized by six of Asia’s top universities: the National University of Singapore, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, National Taiwan University, University of Tokyo, and this year’s host, Seoul National University. The workshop hosted keynote presentations and panel discussions involving women who had made a name for themselves in the academic arena, and the opportunity for participants to interact with professors and deans of the organizing schools. Last year, 15 out of 50 applicants were offered faculty positions via the workshop. After a rigorous application and interview selection process, 53 of the brightest and most promising applicants were chosen as the Rising Stars for 2019.
“I’ve been looking forward to this event since last year,” says Nayoung Kim, a PhD student at Imperial College, who studied at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of SNU for her undergraduate, “It’s great to be back. I’m feeling really nostalgic and happy right now. This is a great opportunity to meet great scientists from all over the world, who are interested in working in academia, which is one of my goals. I hope this event will help me in painting a clearer picture for myself in the future.”
For others, The Rising Stars workshop was their first visit to Seoul. “It’s been amazing,” says Sravya Tekumalla, from National University of Singapore. “I’m really looking forward to going around. People have been extremely friendly.” When asked about life as a materials engineer, she said, “I’ve been around materials my whole life. I was born near a steel plant, and my whole family is involved in the field. I really love what I do.”
It comes as no surprise that the common denominator of the Rising Stars was their passion for science. The Rising Stars, Women in Engineering Workshop was made possible through the conviction of faculty and administrators at some of Asia’s top universities that women must have more opportunities in a largely male academic field. The event served as an opportunity for the women pioneers of the field to hand the torch to the Rising Stars, who will in turn pave the way for future women engineers. The organizing deans vowed to increase the number of applicants for next year’s event, to ensure that this year’s Rising Stars attain faculty positions, and expressed the hope that a female dean represent one of the organizing universities in the near future.
Written by Cheesue Kim, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com