“Being independent is the most important personality trait which has kept me motivated to work in a professional world”
Ramona Chauhan is a PhD student from the School of Education, Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. She is in the second year of her PhD degree and is working broadly on “STEM with disability” area which has a lot of potential because of scarcity of work done in this field.
The topic of her research is “STEM Education: Development and Validation of an Accessible Automated Mathematics Tool for Students Who Are Blind.” Ramona’s area of research includes engineering education and STEM with disability. She is designing and developing a tool which will be accessible for the students with vision impairments in studying mathematics which is an essential and integral part of STEM. Her PhD studies have sparked her interest in giving back to society.
Ramona is also a Sessional Academic staff at the School of electrical engineering and computing, Curtin University. She tutors different computing subjects which are offered to her during the semester. She also has 3 and a half years of experience as a lecturer in an Engineering college in northern India and has been teaching computer engineers throughout.
Ramona has about two years’ experience in working with industry as well. She was a Technical Support Officer at iiNet Australia for one year, where she was recognised with an excellent services award for customer satisfaction. She held a similar role was with HCL Technologies in India for one year where she supported AT&T clients in the Phoenix process. Ramona has completed her Masters in Information Technology and Bachelors in Computer Science and engineering from reputed universities in India. Her background is in computer engineering and she loves to apply her knowledge in teaching engineering students which has increased her interest in Engineering Education. Ramona is also an industry mentee with the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM at the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Ramona is wife to a loving and supporting husband “Vishal” and mum to a four year old charming boy ”Avar”. Her love and passion for singing, cooking and travelling keeps her motivated to manage her personal and professional life in a balanced way.
What would you say is your most valuable personal attribute that has helped you succeed?
Being independent is the most important personality trait which has kept me motivated to work in a professional world. My life and relationship status changed from single to married from last 5 an a half years in which I got promoted as a mum as well. It adds to a lot more responsibility and accountability towards one’s family. However, the zeal to personal development in terms of skills and profession has led me towards my PhD degree. Being parents, we need to manage family, kids and profession in a balanced way. The support and motivation from your partner equally plays a critical role and if you get that support then life becomes easier.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to women just starting their careers in STEMM?
With personal and professional demands in our lives, it can be very difficult to keep focussed on our own studies and work. There is always a priority attached to the different personal and professional responsibilities. Sometimes personal and other times professional responsibilities takes precedence over the each other depending upon the current situation you are in. Understanding your priorities and proper planning really helps in achieving a good work-life balance.
What advice would you give early career researchers/professionals – especially women – in STEMM today?
I would strongly recommend to read a lot about your area of research as it is very important to do a complete literature review in your area. This is the only thing which gives you a lot of confidence to pursue your work. Initially, it is very challenging but reading more and more, slowly and steadily helps a lot in understanding our work. There are many other factors that help to accomplish your research work, which are: the able guidance of your supervisors who are experts in their fields; support from the graduate research school of your University; the knowledge shared by your peers; feedback from the peers from the same area of research; workshops available for early career researchers and HDR (higher degree by research) students, etc. Seeking help wherever and whenever as required is another key to success.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have become a singer! I strongly believe that you should always listen to your heart and do the right thing. There is just one life and you should do what your heart tells you to do and whatever makes you happy. Because, if you are happy then only you can make others happy. Following your passions and doing things that makes you feel proud of yourself is the key to success and happiness.
Are you a science communicator? Why and how do you communicate?
Yes, I am a science communicator. I am a PhD student so during the course of my studies I have to write and keep publishing scientific documents; namely dissertation reports, research papers, requirement analysis document, etc. Publishing your work is the best way to communicate science as you share your work with the scientific community. I teach a subject called “Science Communication” to the first year students of Engineering which gives me an opportunity to learn and teach Science Communication.
LinkedIn: Ramona Chauhan