Busola, 32 – FUNDED

Data is king — or queen, should we say — for Busola Sanusi, who is pursuing her Master’s degree in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Biostatistics at University of North Carolina. So, it’s no surprise that this Paliwal Club of 100 grant winner looks to the relevant statistics when it comes to combating the underrepresentation of women in STEAM. “By simply looking around us in STEAM-related fields, the proportion of women to men is very low,” she says. “Research has also shown that STEAM fields tend to favor males as opposed to their female counterparts. This is a problem both in developing and developed countries.” She also has some great ideas for how to help change this.

What is your professional dream?

My dream is to be a biostatistician at a research institution.

What does being in the Paliwal Club mean to you?

Being in the Paliwal Club means being a part of the change. It means an opportunity to understand and recognize the hard work and relentless effort involved in helping females achieve their goals. It means being ingrained as a seed that will bloom to help other young women. It means being a small part of a big plan towards bridging the gender gap in the STEAM field.

Women are underrepresented in STEAM. How can we change this?

To change this issue of inequality or gender gap in STEAM, there should be more workshops that address this bias. In addition, more women should be encouraged to run for leadership positions in their respective corporations or institutions. There are groups that support females in a few schools but more of these groups should be established across the country. Such groups should involve mentorship programs and seminars that bring established female speakers to encourage aspiring female students towards achieving their goals in STEAM.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

Growing up in a developing country, I know firsthand what it means to be second class for simply being a woman. I’ve had to work twice as hard to break the limiting bias and barriers in order to further my education at the graduate level. At this point in my life, I am happy about the number of younger females who have reached out to me and how I have been a great part of their success stories to achieve their dreams in the STEAM field — just as I have.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

The 1,000 Dreams Fund will give me an opportunity to attend upcoming statistical conferences. I will have an opportunity to discuss my research work, network with like-minded professionals, and also get a chance to attend the talks of many statisticians from all over North America. This is a great step needed to be an advanced biostatistician.