Duong Hong Ngoc was awarded the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2022–23. She is currently studying the MSc in Sustainable Innovation at Teesside University.
Why did you choose to pursue your study in a STEM subject in the UK?
My STEM journey began when I worked for a tech start-up in the education service sector in Viet Nam. During that time, I participated in a STEM-related project which made me realise that STEM is not as complicated as it may seem. I saw how it was integrated into our daily lives and how it could be used to tackle problems in many different areas.
As someone with a passion for agriculture, I came up with the idea of developing digital solutions to promote transparency in the sector in Viet Nam. I believe that this idea is related to STEM as it involves designing processes and utilising technology to create innovative solutions to real-world issues, contributing to sustainable development goals. This inspired me to pursue a STEM programme, and I decided to choose the MSc Sustainable Innovation course at Teesside University in the UK.
As a woman pursuing an education in STEM, what are the advantages/disadvantages?
As I had little educational background in STEM, there were times when it was challenging to understand a topic or unfamiliar terminology. However, I have always maintained an open mind and remained curious about the subject matter, which has helped me assimilate knowledge better and relate it to its practical application in my future career. The STEM skills I have acquired over time have also aided me in overcoming challenges, so I have endeavoured to improve them through the opportunities that the Women in STEM scholarship offers.
I realise that the skills and knowledge I have gained can be applied in any industry or aspect of life, not just agriculture, as I keep learning in the programme. This has broadened my interests, and I have become more passionate about using STEM to solve different societal problems. After graduation, I wish to continue my career in sustainability as a STEM woman and contribute to a more sustainable world.
What advice would you give to Vietnamese students who wish to apply for the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM 2022–23?
Thanks to the British Council, I became a Women in STEM Scholar 2022–23, and this has really been a life-changing experience for me. The scholarship programme is an excellent opportunity for women to pursue their dreams of becoming leaders in STEM fields, and I am grateful for the chance to be a part of it.
The programme is looking for candidates who want to engage in STEM fields. Therefore, one piece of advice I would like to give to those who wish to apply for the scholarship this year is that even if you don't have a previous background related to STEM, you can still prove your commitment by expressing an opinion on a topic through a STEM perspective. I recommend you learn and hone your skills in STEM for the 21st century.
In addition, connecting your university and the course content to your strengths and your willingness to learn and how the course could fill your knowledge gap is also a tip that I would think useful. By doing this, candidates can demonstrate their ability to analyse and solve problems, which is also one of the essential skills that a STEM-er must have.