2015 WISE Influence Award

Dr Marily Nika

Speech AI Product Manager at Google

What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Bumpy, Wondrous, Fulfilling

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

My mother. She studied maths when that was absolutely not the norm. She is my role model!

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Hope is not a strategy. Dreaming is not a strategy, but dreaming is fuel. You have to do the work, and there are no shortcuts for this work. If you have a strategy and a goal in mind, and if you have the ‘fuel’ to keep going, that’s when things start to fall in place.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

That it is time for them now, to give advice. We have a responsibility to make that 1 of the million, 1 of the two million and 1 of the three million, until we are too many to count. And the way to do this, is by supporting each other, mentoring the younger generation, showing them the way, and inspiring them through success and challenge.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

If you want an interesting, fulfilling, challenging (in a good, “never-bored” way) life, STEM is for you. Working in STEM is like having a hobby you love with everything you’ve got and getting paid for it!

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

If anything, now it is easier than ever to take part in gender balance and diversity! Conferences are now all remote, they have widened the audience, reach, lowered the costs. Communities are flourishing, opinions, everything online – we need to keep joining and engaging in communities, if a community we are interested in does not exist, go out there and create one! This topic is as strong as ever and I am proud to be involved in such initiatives as much as I was pre-COVID-19.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Spread the word! It’s AMAZING To work in STEM
Showcase women working in STEM that are relatable. To enable women to feel that they can also do this.
Show the way give tools, and resources (courses, mentorship) to educate
What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

The STEM sector in the next 20 years will have technologists, scientists, programmers, managers – and by that, people will picture either a woman, or a man. There will no longer be the notion of ‘woman programmer’ or ‘female technologist’. This sector will be even more fascinating than ever. With Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality stepping in.

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