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The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future (FFTF) Fellows & Alumnae Forum was recently hosted in Cambridge, United Kingdom, where Fellows (current grantees) of the program that are currently studying in Europe as well as Alumnae (ex-grantees) who are back in their home countries gathered to meet, exchange, learn new skills, and raise their consciousness on the part they will play as female leaders and role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“Apart from mentoring in terms of research, you can mentor in other parts of life as well,” says Olanike, former grantee. “People choose you; they see you and decide they want you to be a role model.”
These events are typically hosted once or twice a year to create a sense of community, to initiate collaborations and facilitate networking with well-known scientists and other accomplished leaders. At the forum, 60 attendees took part in activities such as workshops, talks, and panel discussions on topics such as how they can invest in women’s education, and how they can maintain physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health as a woman in a STEM field.
“One of the most important things to see is another woman ahead of you, blazing the way,” affirms Vicky, FFTF Board Member. “By educating a generation of women who are going to go back to their countries and be role models you create a pathway to illuminate how it looks to go get an education, come back, teach, and do research in-country,” she adds.
The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future program awards fellowships to women from developing and emerging economies to pursue Ph.D. or Post-doctoral studies in STEM at leading universities worldwide. The program’s long-term goal is to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing scientific careers by lowering the barriers women face when entering STEM disciplines, thus reducing the gender gap.
Since inception in 2004, a total of 721 women from 80 developing and emerging countries have received Faculty for the Future fellowships to pursue Ph.D. and Post-doctoral research in STEM in renowned universities outside of their home country.