Interviews - Priyanka Mishra

When did you first realize you wanted to do STEM?

I am naturally inquisitive, and my thirst for knowledge is infinite. I have always aspired to be at the forefront of what I do. My interest in biology was piqued during my master’s study when I realized the joy of understanding and discovering something with science. It spurred my interest in science as a career. During that course, I discovered journal publications and

scientific conferences, and I desired to be the author someday. I remember reading and

following the articles of my biology teachers that boosted my aspiration. But I wasn’t very clear of what I wanted to do next, although I vaguely hoped for doctoral study. On the other side, the picture was entirely different. I had the financial hardships to support me and our family and had to choose accordingly. Having those obligations, I ended up taking a job in the banking sector, which was not even on my radar. Besides, my craving for PhD was never-ending. Within a year of job in the tech world, and with my constant fortitude and commitment, I was able to secure my place in PhD. That led to my eventual desire, which I haven’t trade for anything.

Who were your role models growing up?

Achieving all my academics from India, I grew up trailing the great Indian scientist Dr. A.P.J.

Abdul Kalam.

Did you ever want to do anything else?

During my high school days, I secretly dreamed of becoming an air hostess.

Have you ever had any setbacks or been told you are a girl so

cannot do tech?

Yes, I have witnessed several setbacks’ in my constant journey so far, else I believe I wouldn’t

have come out this stronger. Special moments I recall from my high school when I was not

getting admission in science subject for the reason that girls are not strong at doing science,

and the other is my interview for a banker in the year 2009, I was told that publicizing is not a

woman pitch. I had not much to rationalize at that point, but today I’m here. I don’t see where they are.

Is there a problem with sexism in the STEM


A prevailing historical thought that STEM is a male-dominated field; detrimental stereotypes

that women are not good at math or science; structural obstacles that make it hard for women to advance.

What’s your message for young girls wanting to do STEM?

Own your interest! The road to success in STEM is never an easy one. Don’t be afraid in the face of the obstacles, failures, and shut doors; continue strong-headed. You just need to connect the dots between changing the world and STEM. Find your passion and pursue it wholeheartedly.

STEM was a male-dominated profession many years ago, but now there are plenty of women

out there. Thrive in the face of this opposition with as much dignity as possible. Don’t feel

reluctant to open up. Always value your potential and bring to the table your unique; no one

can reasonably refuse you a seat.

What is your favourite science joke?

Biologically, emotions are a random mutation.

What is the most embarrassing moment in your life?

A fun teenage moment when I couldn't get the difference between natural carbon and a carbon paper in context. No wonder was I conscious.

What is your favourite food?

Maybe a big answer. Being Indian, I love authentic Aloo Paratha (a flatbread dish rolled with

mashed potato and spices) with tomato chutney (a spicy and tangy sauce recipe made with

tomatoes and spices) the most.

What is your favourite shop?

I’m a big shopper mostly of casual and dressy stores, including Macy’s, Topshop, and Neiman Marcus.

Wow! We have been amazed at your fascinating responses. We think your journey through STEM is so inspiring and cannot wait to begin ours! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and thank you to our readers for their continued support throughout our interviews and we cannot wait for more to come in the future!

Priyanka Mishra

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