Case Study: Melinda Baptista

Melinda is currently studying for a Mathematics Degree at the Dundee University.

At school

Melinda took maths, further maths, physics and chemistry for her A-levels and she had great support from her teachers and family to explore maths and physics:

“I had a female Physics teacher, which I thought was really cool”

Looking back at her own education she mentions that ” I think science taught me to be more inquisitive […] a lot of people thinks that maths is about finding an answer, but it’s not. It’s about how do you find the answer, and how you can then use that answer in other scenarios.”

Women in Science Society

Her own experience of being the only girl in her Physics class at secondary school led Melinda to join forces with others at Dundee University to co-found a Women in Science Society.  She is happy to take the lead in projects, and is very proud of the society.

We started  last year, and it’s nice to get lots of women in STEM together and talk about the issues we face […] We have a series running called My future self where we have women at different stages of their careers coming in and giving talks about their career progression, where they started, where do they want to be and I think it really inspires everyone to pursue their career aspirations [..] We want to start doing outreach with primary schools and secondary schools in the area to really encourage the growth of science capital.

Melinda’s advice to young people

Keep being inquisitive, keep asking questions and keep making contact everywhere you go […] always writes people’s emails down and try to find out ways to further progress in STEM. […] Ask your teachers if they know of any summer schools or programmes and things [you] could get involved in.

Reading books & travelling the world

When she is not busy with her studies Melinda likes to to spend her time reading and travelling: “I recently challenged myself to read a book a week and it’s going well. I am currently reading a book called algorithms to live by which is about human decision-making and  is really interesting because then you start looking how to to plan your day […]  I live in Scotland which is a really beautiful country and I love travel around the Highlands […] in Europe, Berlin is my favourite city to go to every summer.”