On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Bayer would like to thank and recognize the incredible contribution women are making to our industries every day. Here, three female scientists from Bayer in Australia and New Zealand share their stories, how they found their way to a science career and the advice they would give to young women and girls keen to pursue a career in science.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Bayer employees share their stories
Insect Resistance Management Scientist and Facility Lead – Crop Science, Bayer ANZ
I have not had a traditional career path; I did a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology), thinking I would go down the path of becoming a practicing psychologist. But that wasn’t meant to be! While completing my degree in Psychology, I obtained a casual role at the Department of Primary Industries working for an entomologist. It was there that my passion for science and agriculture was ignited! I went on to complete my Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, followed by a PhD and, almost 30 years later, I am still doing what I love!
“Look behind every door that opens and check out what opportunity lies behind it because you will never know unless you do.”
I have worked at Bayer for almost 17 years and I am also a Bayer Science Fellow which acknowledges my contributions to the Australian cotton industry through my role at Bayer. It’s something I am incredibly proud of and it also gives me the opportunity to interact with other Bayer scientists which is a valuable way to learn and grow my network.
My advice for budding female scientists: If it excites you, pursue it. Keep asking questions, find people you can talk to and remember there's no such thing as a dumb question.
Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager – Consumer Health, Bayer ANZ
Science is about turning curiosity into creativity. As a toddler I used to drive my parents mad with “Why?”. I think it was my first word! My dad soon turned that around by asking me what I thought could be the reason for something – a clever delay tactic that (much to his dismay) also led to experiments like detergent in the swimming pool and a dismantled toaster. All good learnings about what NOT to do!
Hooked on science and experiments from a young age, I never could have predicted that I would move beyond the science lab to where I am today. But constantly asking the question “I wonder what would happen if…” and being open-minded has allowed me to move from my first love of laboratory work (I am a bucket chemist at heart) to quality assurance, research and development, systems and processes, regulatory affairs, product safety, sustainable innovation and influencing legislation.
I was one of a small group of women at university but I saw the number of females studying science grow year on year. Similarly, scientific roles in industry were predominantly led by males in the 1980s and 1990s and I am very pleased to see that the number of women in science has grown in recent years and continues to grow.
“A scientist is a scientist: We are drivers of change! And often fabulous cooks!”
Science is about continuous change and being able to predict and harness that change for a better, healthier world. This is what inspires and motivates me every day and why I am proud to work for Bayer, a company that is dedicated to helping people and the planet thrive as we pursue our vision of Health for all; Hunger for none.
My advice for budding female scientists: Be true to yourself and don’t be afraid. Allow your curiosity to take you on a journey. Just don’t put detergent in the swimming pool!
Head of Clinical Operations – Pharmaceuticals, Bayer ANZ
Looking back on my childhood, I recall that I loved the outdoors and experimenting with whatever I could get my hands on. I may have gotten a small electric shock when taking one of my experiments too far (don’t tell my mum)! But my love for science really blossomed when I started high school. I had a teacher whose love for science was so infectious it rubbed off on me.
After high school, I was torn between studying music and science, but science won in the end. And I have tried to instil that same passion for science into my kids and I often tell them that they can fail any subject at school except for science!
“If at first you don’t succeed, try again because that is the very definition of experimentation!”
I have been working in clinical research for close to 20 years and in a leadership role for more than 14 years and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. In essence, clinical research is about “finding more for patients” and giving them hope. Our purpose at Bayer is Science for a better life. And that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning – knowing that what I do has had an impact on a person’s life.
My advice for budding scientists: Every destination has many roads to get there. Explore and speak to people that share your love for science, ask them what’s out there when it comes to career choices. And always be curious! A quote that inspired me along the journey: “Curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.”