Kumar Breaks Gender Stereotypes In STEM Fields

Shivaashna Kumar, 22, hopes to break the gender stereotype in Science, Technology, Engi­neering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields that have been in almost eve­ry community.
17 Jul 2022 12:07
Kumar Breaks Gender Stereotypes In STEM Fields
From left: Grandmother Mahima Wati. sister Priyaashna Kumar, Shivaashna Kumar and grandfather Ram Deo at their home in Meigunyah, Nadi. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Shivaashna Kumar, 22, hopes to break the gender stereotype in Science, Technology, Engi­neering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields that have been in almost eve­ry community.

The fourth-year student is study­ing for a Bachelor of Materials Science and Engineering/ Master of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

She is in the country for two weeks after four years of her study. She re­turns on July 20.

From a very young age, her sisters and Ms Kumar have always loved to work on cars with their father from which her passion for working with machines came about.

“At the same time, I was also inter­ested in medicine to help improve the quality of life for individuals who need medical assistance,” she said.

She says it is only possible for her to be where she is today through the guidance of God, and her elders.

Through hard work, she received the National Toppers Scholarship (Overseas Scheme).

“By being a scholar of the Nation­al Toppers Scholarship, I was able to achieve this dream and break the gender stereotypes in STEM fields that have been in almost every com­munity,” Ms Kumar said.

Biomedical engineering inte­grates biology and medicine through the application of engi­neering theories to improve the quality of human health.

“The exposure and experience I get from this degree allows me to expand my knowledge so that I can help make patients’ lives a bit easi­er,” she said.

Her thesis project: The research is based on dialysis treatment, specifi­cally fistula maturation to improve the success rate of dialysis treat­ment in patients.

Her inspiration to do Engineering was also from her dad, Rajnesh Ku­mar who also has a master’s qualifi­cation in Engineering and Business Administration.

She got her hands dirty when passing tools and working with him, this gave her inspiration and motivation that a girl could do any­thing they put their mind to.

She always wanted to do some­thing unique and Biomedical En­gineering- is one area where our country lacks specialists.

She wants to serve the country with this expertise and specialty in the Medical and Health Sector en­suring that all our local techniques are on par with international standards.

Her proud mother, Priya Kumar said, “My daughters are my pride, and for the entire family as well as she strived so hard and took that bold step to study Biomedical En­gineering. To focus on advances in technology and medicine to devel­op new devices and equipment for improving human health.”

“Being the youngest in the family, she has set an example for many upcoming students.

“We thank the Government of the day for supporting all my three daughters through scholarships to pursue studies in their field of in­terest.”

About Ms Kumar

She comes from a family of seven which includes her parents, Ra­jnesh and Priya Kumar, grandpar­ents Ram Deo and Mahima Wati, and two sisters Priyaashna Kumar and Nivaashna Kumar.

She has spent most of her life in Suva but kept moving around the country due to her father’s work commitments taking him to various locations, so she has lived in different parts of Viti Levu.


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