Women at­tend Seoul sci­ence camp

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

A speech from the Pres­i­dent of South Korea, Park Guen-hye, was one of the high­lights of the BIEN2013 con­fer­ence in Seoul for Waikato Univer­sity PhD stu­dent Talia Hicks.

Talia, a for­mer Mata­mata Col­lege stu­dent, was one of two New Zealand ter­tiary stu­dents who at­tended the two- day sci­ence camp for young women sci­en­tists from Asia Pa­cific re­gion and BIEN2013, the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence of Woman Sci­en­tists and Engi­neers.

About 500 women from 16 mainly Asian coun­tries at­tended this year’s BIEN.

Pres­i­dent Park, who has a Bach­e­lor of Elec­tri­cal Engineering, stressed the need to en­cour­age girls into sci­ence and engineering, and give them plenty of sup­port.

‘‘We re­ally need to make sure girls are well-in­formed in their choices for study and ca­reers in the male­dom­i­nated ar­eas such as sci­ence and engineering,’’ said Talia.

‘‘They need to be pre­pared for the re­al­ity of the work­place, par­tic­u­larly out­side New Zealand.’’

The con­fer­ence was held to high­light some of the re­cent achieve­ments of women in the fields of bio, nano, in­for­ma­tion, en­vi­ron­ment, space and con­ver­gence tech­nolo­gies. There was also em­pha­sis placed on the need for or­gan­i­sa­tions where women sci­en­tists and engi­neers can net­work, col­lab­o­rate and share ideas.

‘‘All the women at BIEN had a story about how they got to where they are, and the strug­gles they had to get there,’’ said Talia.

‘‘It was great to hear how they had worked around some of the is­sues.’’

One of the best things about the trip for Talia was the con­tacts she made, par­tic­u­larly with Univer­sity of Auck­land’s Emily Har­grave-Thomas, and a waste­water engi­neer from In­dia and Chi­nese sci­en­tist look­ing to prove the ben­e­fits of tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine.

Talia has a BSc in Chem­istry, an MSc(Tech) and for her PhD is work­ing on a project to de­colour blood­meal used in mak­ing bio­plas­tic.

Back from ad­ven­ture: For­mer Mata­mata Col­lege and PhD stu­dent Talia Hicks.

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