This article is brought to you by the SUTD – Women x Tech & Design series.
The opportunities are endless in the world of tech and design.
Innovation, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. These are just some of the many skills fostered by a path in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), where the job possibilities are ever-expanding in the digital era.
Since its pioneer class in 2012, SUTD has been bridging the gender gap in tech and design, where women only account for about one in four in the science and technology workforce traditionally. Women who have graduated from SUTD in the past decade with tech and design degrees have gone on to become innovators and distinguished professionals, architects and engineers, educators and leaders. SUTD empowers and supports young women to explore the endless potential to better the world with tech and design.
Women of SUTD
SUTD takes pride in bringing more women into the STEAM workforce, a field where women are underrepresented.
Only 20% of students enrolled in engineering and architecture in Singapore are female, despite the fact that the population ratio of males to females is almost 1:1. However, SUTD takes pride in attracting a 36%-40% female student cohort yearly with its audacious goal and dedication of growing female representation to 40%.
Looking beyond campus walls to the corporate world, at the largest 100-primary-listed companies on the Singapore Exchange, the disparity is crystallised: women account for only 16.2% of board members. And while more and more women are beginning to pursue STEAM degrees at local universities, just 30% of local researchers and engineers are women.
In order to foster a greater number of female STEAM professionals, SUTD takes a holistic approach in attracting female students, faculty and staff.
Up until she decided to join SUTD’s pioneer class studying Engineering Systems and Design (ESD), Delphine, formerly from Victoria Junior College, never pictured herself as an engineer. However, SUTD’s focus on making engineering accessible to women led her to reconsider – and paved the way for her career at the Changi Airport Group (CAG), where she started out in an analytics role, but is now a Senior Manager of the Terminal 5 Planning Team. The critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and analytical skills she learnt at SUTD are what set Delphine up for addressing large-scale problems in the real world.
As SUTD’s first qualified architect and now a senior architect at Hassell Design (Singapore), Bianca, formerly from Nanyang Junior College, efficiently and effectively manages projects and ensures that they meet both the financial and design requirements of company and client, while also being responsible for motivating, managing, and collaborating with her team and stakeholders. Bianca looks back at her time earning her Master of Architecture as one of SUTD’s pioneer students and emphasises the impact that SUTD’s focus on interdisciplinary learning had on her career. It was the experience of having gone through an interdisciplinary approach that sparked her curiosity and hunger to understand her project consultants better and their constraints to work together to formulate better solutions to achieve project goals. She also gives back by lecturing the 3.007 Design Thinking and Innovation course at SUTD.
Among the first batch of SUTD pioneer students in 2012, Jia Xuan, formerly from Anglo-Chinese Junior College, is the Chief Operations Officer at Codomo, a Singapore-based education technology company seeking to make learning and educational tools more interesting and engaging. Jia Xuan was attracted by SUTD’s design vision from the very start. In fact, she was so sure that she wanted to attend SUTD that she did not even apply to any other universities, even after the release of A-level results. While at SUTD, Jia Xuan obtained a degree in Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD). She credits her learning path at SUTD for her ability to bring and use technology seamlessly into the human experience. Whether that’s in relation to green building technology, VR, or game interface design, Jia Xuan believes SUTD graduates can add value at every touchpoint with humans.
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