Ms Van Anh believes that although STEMM fields have been a male-dominated environment for long, it does not mean that women are not good at those subjects.
“It is obvious that we need more women in these fields. And the challenge is how to get more girls interested in the fields.
“From an educational point of view, I think we can extend learning opportunities and create engaging lessons with technology, demystify coding and boost confidence by highlighting female role models.”
Such an approach aligns with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, which advocates for innovation for gender equality.
At RMIT University, for example, several types of scholarship are offered for female students in STEMM disciplines, including the Women in STEMM pre-doctoral fellowship, and the Women in STEM Scholarship for undergraduate students.
“Many people say that doing a PhD is a great time in one person's life as you are paid to study things you are interested in, and as a fellowship holder, that is true for me,” Ms Van Anh said.
“It is even better as I also involve in teaching, which means I can develop valuable skills for an academic at the same time.”
She joked: “It is often said that a PhD year is equivalent to a cat year, which means after each year as a PhD student, you will look four years older than the previous year. For me, I am in the process of testing the theory.”
“Doing my multi-disciplinary research requires solid knowledge of computer science and medicine, so the learning curve seems to become stiffer every day, but I do hope that only my brain will have more wrinkles, not my face [laughs].”