Hi, Could you introduce yourself?
Hi I am Shalini Guleria, currently pursuing my PhD in breast cancer research at Olivia Newton John cancer Research Institute in Melbourne. I am originally from India but moved to NZ when I was 8 years old. I completed my bachelors in biochemical engineering and masters in Tissue engineering from University of Waikato in NZ. As well as being a scientist I am also an entrepreneur and I run a social enterprise called Science Box.
What are your goals?
I have two goals in my life one is to be a leader in breast cancer research and be an expert in technological advancement that are being used for cancer research. And my second goal is to make Science Box global by expanding it to third world countries where there is a need for such an initiative.
What are you working on?
For my PhD I am currently investigating at how mammary associated adipose tissue can affect breast cancer progression and if it does how can we stop this from happening. I work in a lab group that explores the genetics of a disease. On the side I am also working on some new programs for Science Box that will be launched later this year.
How did you get into your current field?
My career journey has been quite interesting as it wasn't straight line from point A to B. I completed my undergraduate degree in chemical and biological engineering, so by trade I am an engineer. However, in the midst of my engineering degree I fell in love with research and wanted to lead a career in that. I always had a passion towards cancer research which sparked when I was in high school after I lost a good friend of mine due to cancer. After my bachelors I decided to a masters in science and I was lucky to get a project that was a combination of science and engineering. This build my basis in cancer research leading me to pursue a career in breast cancer research.
Could you explain the aims of Sciencebox?
Science Box aims to bring the magic of science to young kids and spark their curiosity to question things around them. The reason Science Box came into existence was because I saw that young kids were stepping away from STEM subjects at a young age as they either though that science is too hard or not accessible. At Science Box we try to overcome these issues and make science accessible and fun by engaging kids with science challenges that only require house hold items and can easily be done at home.
What impact has science box had?
Science Box is still quite new in its journey in a year and half Science Box has conducted workshops with over 2000 kids in NZ as well as launching some new programs such as the Science Box club. We have recently expanded to Bangladesh and Kenya forming collaborations with organisations such as WizKit (Bangladesh) and Oasis Mathare (Kenya).
Do you have a mentor?
I don't have a specific mentor but I have been guided by a lot of people in terms of growing Science Box.
Do you mentor anyone?
I haven't specifically mentored people but I have been a speaker at various events that involves inspiring young kids to get into STEM
What could institutions do to better foster female talent in STEM?
I believe providing equal opportunity for men and women is a way to foster female talent in STEM. Having female role models in the institution that are leaders in STEM will encourage future generations to follow that path as it seems possible, hence removing the stigma that the area of STEM can only be done by males.
Who do you follow? what blogs do you read?
I am a big promoter of STEM on Instagram and I follow some amazing women in STEM on Instagram that inspire. To name a few Julia Ravey, Samantha Yammine and Georgia Atkin-Smith.
What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?
I am quite active on Instagram and LinkedIn. So if you follow me on Instagram and LinkedIn you will be able to see what I am up too. @shalini_gul