Our panel of judges is pleased to announce the winner of the 2nd annual Women in Research Travel Grant Competition. After much deliberation, and the daunting task of reviewing more than 170 insightful responses on what they would say to young girls interested in science, Luciana Miu, a Research Postgraduate and Faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College, London, will be awarded a travel grant of $2,000USD.
Her winning response took the form of a poem:
To you, future scientist
It's warming to my heart to see so much of me in you,
That wide-eyed awe, that eager smile: "What else can science do?"
"What spaceships, cars or nano-bots will engineers design?"
"What next for astrophysics on the history of time?"
So no matter what they tell you in your college applications,
There is nothing more important than this lifelong fascination.
It's deja-vu to see you look around your college lab,
You've heard the story, yes - it's slightly meaningless and drab:
"Gender balance: 80-20. Yes, of course we strive for more.
But for years now, engineering has been male right to its core."
Yet no matter what you're thinking, as the only girl enrolled,
There is nothing more important than the passion that you hold.
And it's clear in your and my minds that our future generations,
Must stand tall upon the shoulders of our giants' inspiration,
And say: "Diversity in science is no longer just a dream,
Look around you and you'll see us all now working as a team.
Just think back - how many breakthroughs do you think we would have missed
If we'd settled for the "fact" that women study science less?
So no matter if they tell you to rethink your love for science,
Just remember: science needs you, and the future needs its giants.
The judges feel that this essay stands out because of its passion, its artistry and creativity, and its innovative approach.
This entry for the Travel Grant competition charms with its clever and memorable format, evoking childhood rhymes that will be familiar and enjoyable to the next generation of scientists.
Importantly, the key themes in this poem are curiosity and passion. The author emphasizes the personal drive that is needed for a lifetime pursuing science. The author evokes some of the collaboration, teamwork, and discovery that underpin the scientific process with a freshness and vitality that will instantly engage young girls.
And though a love for science remains at the heart of the piece, the poem itself is also a call to action for diversity in science: the future needs all of us, the author states in a powerful representation of inclusion.
Congratulations to Luciana Miu, and thank you to everyone who participated in this travel grant competition. Your words and your work are inspiring to us, and selecting a winner was an incredibly difficult task.
2018 Women in Research Travel Grant Judges:
L. Anathea Brooks
Steering Committee member, STEM and Gender Advancement (SAGA) project
Dr. Mhairi Crawford
Development Director, Women in Science and Engineering Campaign
Dr. Beth Cunningham
Executive Officer, American Association of Physics Teachers
Dr. Ozak Esu
Electrical Engineer, Cundall, and IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year
Dr. Amanda L. Golbeck
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Biostatistics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Dr. Alfredo Grieco
Editor-in-Chief, Wiley Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies & Internet Technology Letters
Dr. Donna LaLonde
Director of Strategics Initiatives and Outreach, American Statistical Association
Dr. Jeremy Sanders
Deputy Chair, Athena Forum, and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge
Dr. Nadia Thalmann
Professor and Director of the Institute for Media Innovation, NTU, Singapore
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