Today marks the International Women’s Day (IWD). We were privileged to interview two young Ghanaian women working in science to share briefly their experience and offer some advice and inspiration to young women scientists in Ghana.
Regina Kwarteng, PhD candidate at the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.
I would like to encourage …young ladies …who have the dream to pursue a career in science not to give up and see the challenges they face as an opportunity for advancement in achieving their dream.
Today, as we celebrate women all over the world, I feel privileged to be given this platform to share with my fellow Ghanaian women and young girls my experiences studying and establishing a career in science. My name is Regina Kwarteng, a PHD candidate at the Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. I graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (first class honours). In 2015, I was awarded the prestigious commonwealth shared scholarship to study a master’s degree in Biomedical Science at the University of the West of England, Bristol UK. I completed in 2016 with majors in Clinical Chemistry and Blood sciences. I was subsequently awarded the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Postgraduate Scholarship to pursue a PHD programme in Medical Laboratory Science. The aim of the PHD project is to conduct functional studies on putative trait-associated variants of high myopia. My research interests include functional and comparative genomics, anthracycline resistance and DNA hypomethylation in leukaemic cell lines.
As a young female researcher pursuing a career in the sciences, I am reminded of the brilliant works of Madam Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel prize and the first to win it in two different sciences (Physics and Chemistry). Today, we honour the likes of Rosalind Franklin, “the women of NASA”, Jennifer Doudna, our very own Ghanaian scientists; Prof. Aba Bentil Adam and Dr Leticia Obeng. Today we honour you as well, the young female scientist, earnestly hoping to make a breakthrough in a profession dominated by men. We acknowledge you and applaud your laudable efforts, keep up the good works and let your light continue to shine.
One thing I know for sure is my love for science, I have loved the subject since my high school days and I dreamed of one day becoming a renowned research scientist. I would like to encourage fellow colleagues and young ladies especially, those who have the dream to pursue a career in science not to give up and see the challenges they face as an opportunity for advancement in achieving their dream.
The world needs you. Ghana needs you. Arise, young woman. Learn science, Aim for the stars.
Sefakor Agbenyegah, MPhil candidate at the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, KNUST, Ghana
When you are convinced that your career path is in STEM, make every attempt and leave no stone unturned to succeed in that career path.
The fact that only a tiny percentage of women are found in STEM doesn’t mean you cannot make it. Carefully consider your convictions. When you are convinced that your career path is in STEM, make every attempt and leave no stone unturned to succeed in that career path. To have a smooth ride means to do nothing. To make a difference and an impact requires much effort.
A woman is beautiful. But besides her beauty on the surface is her resilience and her resourcefulness. I would like to encourage all women scientists out there to keep up the good work. Even when there is no way or possibility, find one. It is through that that great discoveries are made.
I am currently pursuing a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Biochemistry at KNUST where I also obtained my first degree in Biochemistry. My desire is to build a career in drug discovery, with drugs and curative methods against cancer as a top priority. To achieve this goal, I am challenged to be abreast with all developments in the field. I am also an author and inspirational writer. I have a book titled ‘My Trotro Diaries’ which draws inspiration and encouraging messages from everyday occurrences. Although it is hard work keeping both sides running, I am consoled by the fact that they complement each other. In science, we write too.
So, dear woman researcher, find inspiration all around and pursue that career. Wishing all women a happy International Women’s Day.