Today, the UN states that just 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women, and only 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM related fields of study are women.*
On 11 February, we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Given we are a global manufacturer of smart adhesives, we thought there was no better time to shine a light on the some of the amazing women behind the scenes at Bostik.
Elaine Arney, is our National Quality Manager. She has been in Science for 33 years, at Bostik for five, and describes herself as a history geek.
Anwaar Hanna, is our Senior R&D Chemist. She has been with Bostik for 14 years and working in science for 30. She cannot live without cheese and chocolate.
Stacia Chong, new to Bostik, is our Technical Product Manager. She’s been working in science for three years. She is terrified of spiders, if she see one in a room…she will leave and give the spider the room.
What was it that attracted you to a career in science?
A: I studied Chemistry because it is everywhere in the world around you. It is in the food you eat, clothes you wear, water you drink, medicines, air, cleaners... you name it. Chemistry helps you to understand the world around you. Why do leaves change color in the fall? Why are plants green? How is cheese made? What is in soap and how does it clean? These are all questions that can be answered by applying chemistry.
E: My dad was a copper miner, and I used to watch him assay the ore for copper content when I was about 6 years old. It always fascinated me when it changed colour as it reached its endpoint. I spent my teen years in mining towns, where attitudes were different and girls were not pushed into the stereotypical female roles, so it was easy to see myself in this field.
S: My high school chemistry teacher made all the science experiments fun and captivating. From extracting eucalyptus oil from its leaves to making deep heat to making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. These experiments sparked my interests in science, particularly chemistry, and became a stepping-stone to my career path.
What is it you love about your day to day at Bostik?
A: I love that I have a degree of control and freedom within my job and my boss trusts me to produce high-quality work and results. I work hard to maintain that level of trust, which keeps me engaged and excited
E: The variety of tasks and the broad range of people I work with. In my role, I have the opportunity to work in the lab or the production plant, fault-find or help scale up new products. I can be auditing, creating procedures, approving raw materials or packaging artwork. Every day is different.
S: I love how welcoming and supportive the Bostik team are, you never feel alone.
What keeps you motivated in this field?
A: Finding a way to solve a problem, or overcome a challenge.
E: Learning something new almost every day.
S: I love how intellectually challenging it can be and how fulfilling it is to be able to make ideas into a reality.
Throughout your career, is there one major highlight or moment you really take pride in?
A: When the market and the customers likes the products that I developed
S: I was involved in a project where our vision was to transform the company into a waste-neutral company. We looked into reducing the amount of landfill waste by investigating ways we would recycle and re-use these materials instead of throwing it in the bin. We all play a role in preserving the environment, and I think being a part of something that can contribute towards that was quite exciting.
What is one piece of advice you would give young girls aspiring to a career in science?
A: My advice for young girls wanting to enter the science field would be to not be afraid to get uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable and try things you’ve never done before, because you never know, it might turn out that you actually like it.
E: You can do it, and it’s fun and so interesting!
S: You never know if you like something until you try it. Don’t be intimidated, go and explore what science can do for you.
Read up on more fabulous women in science here