11 February is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Over the next two weeks we are highlighting some of the inspiring women scientists working in the Pacific Community.
Mere Vadei, SPC Curriculum and Assessment Specialist & Team leader
Describe your job?
I am an education specialist, with a focus on curriculum and assessment. I am also a team leader for the Educational Quality and Assessments Programme (EQAP) of the Pacific Community. The knowledge of science impacts every aspect of my life and my work. I look around and I see science everywhere. More importantly, the scientific skills that I gained are most useful for my work – the skill of being analytical, mathematical, questioning assumed realities, and logical reasoning, to name some. Science taught me the basic understanding that there is always a logical reason for every event.
Why did you choose science?
The main pull factor was that I did well in these subjects in high school, which I guess stemmed from the fact that I had good Science teachers (American Peace Corp Volunteers) in junior high school. My interest increased in high school and later on in university when I carried out scientific investigations to explore the world of science, especially Biology. I thrived when I figured out how I could reason out things that were happening in me and around me.
What impact does your work have on the Pacific region?
Education quality can be regarded as a science in itself. It is the science of determining the efficiency of educational systems in supporting learners achieve learning outcomes. Evidence is key in the determination of education quality, and just like in science, logical reasoning and interpretations based on the evidence gathered are key to good educational decisions for improvement of education quality. Without this scientific approach and an openness to new possibilities/discoveries, education quality is moribund!
Advice to other young women or girls on getting involved in STEM?
The learning journey will be most challenging and rewarding, but not easy! You have to be interested in science to succeed in this filed. Science teachers should also share in the responsibility of nurturing that spark of interest in our students. My advice to science teachers: please make the subject come alive for your students. Open the door to the world of exploration and logical reasoning. Your approach to teaching science is the likely key to the full blossom of budding interests.