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Women in STEM workshop

The first SKA Key Science Workshop took place in Stockholm at the end of August. 150 astronomers from 23 countries gathered to discuss some of the key science projects to be conducted with the SKA.

With so many incredible scientists together in one place, we took this unique opportunity to organise an outreach workshop on Women in STEM. 20 astronomers from all over the SKA world answered our call and came to participate and brainstorm together. There were South Africans, Italians, Chinese, Australians, New Zealanders and many other nationalities – a real show of diversity! The focus: convince a young girl to take up science studies.

In particular, we asked them what words they most associated with their job, and here’s what they came up with. Doesn’t a career in astronomy sound great?

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We also asked them to think about what kind of advice or tips they would give to become a scientist. We all know it’s a long road, but our astronomers had great words of encouragement. Here are some of their “tips from Stockholm”, by astronomers for budding astronomers!

  • Believe in yourself
  • Follow your dreams, but accept your goals may change
  • Work hard, and don’t be afraid of challenges
  • Don’t be intimidated – either by obstacles or by others
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – lots of them!
  • Be curious
  • Think for yourself
  • Don’t be put off by small setbacks
  • Mistakes are ok – keep trying!
  • Don’t give up!
  • Be willing to study the “boring” subjects too
  • Plan ahead – take the right subjects you need at school
  • There is no single road to becoming a scientist – but a solid base in STEM subjects is important
  • Remember: problem solving, maths, physics are skills that improve with practice – so practice!
  • Learn about computers

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