Inspirational women encourage young girls to pursue STEM fields at Doha Learning Days
“The journey is worth it,” urged ExxonMobil’s Jumana Al Qassabi, as she spoke to an audience of young women, inspiring them to become the next generation of STEM thinkers and leaders.
Joined by Amal Al-Malki, the two women spoke about their passion for STEM, describing their educational backgrounds, real-life experiences, and every-day lives. The two TED-style talks were delivered as part of WISE’s Doha Learning Days – a six-day experiential festival taking place across Education City’s Green Spine and Ceremonial Court.
Al-Malki, Safety and Environmental Specialist, ExxonMobil Qatar, explained how her interest in STEM started at a young age. “When I was a child, I was interested in so many different things,” she said. “I wanted to know how computers worked; I wanted to do scientific experiments at home using whatever ingredients were in the cupboard.
“My mother worked at a hospital, so I was fascinated by doctors and what they did, and why they were listening to my heart. At home, I would help my father fix things. He would give us a hammer and a screwdriver and everyone had to fix something in the house.
“And all of these things I was curious about – even things like plants and flowers – had one thing in common: they were kinds of puzzles. I wanted to figure out puzzles. Whether it be a cupboard, whether it be plants, whether it be the human body. It was all like a puzzle to me, and that’s how I became really interested.”
Al Qassabi, Commercial Manager at ExxonMobil Qatar, said: “Science helps us make us sense of the world around us.
“With ambition and hard work, you can do wonders. Don’t be afraid of people telling you that STEM subjects are difficult. Don’t be afraid of failure – it’s worth the challenge. Who knows, you could discover a treatment for one of the world’s most challenging illnesses.”
The talk was attended by girls from Compass International School Qatar, accompanied by their teacher Catherine Forsyth, who explained how important it is for young women to see other women speak about their own experiences. “It’s better for students to hear things from other people, not just teachers,” she said.
“It’s great to listen to different opinions and learn about different industries, and it’s better for students to hear about it from people within the industries, not just teachers.”
Doha Learning Days, set to conclude on November 19, features a full schedule of events, workshops, and discussions. To learn more about what it has to offer, and to register for specific sessions, please visit: www.wise-qatar.org/wise-2019/doha-learning-days/