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Manpreet Kaur Saini, India, Master's Food Security

What was the journey that brought you to Warwick?

My name is Manpreet Kaur Saini, and I am from Pune, India. I have an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology, and my transition to a climate change degree at University of Warwick is quite a significant one. I was always inclined towards science in school and thoroughly enjoyed experimenting in my lab classes. This eventually evolved into a passion for engineering and a fascination with manufacturing processes, but as an engineer, you can see how energy and resource intensive these processes can be. I applied for the British Council Women in STEM Scholarship at the University of Warwick with the aim to seek economic, social, technical, and policy-based solutions to our food consumption problems.

How has the scholarship, and your time so far at Warwick, boosted your career and your confidence as a researcher

The scholarship has provided me a global platform grow holistically. At Warwick, I am studying niche electives like Climate Change and Environmental Accounting to develop greener business cases that hinge on a profitable, yet environment-friendly form of self-sustenance. The exposure has helped me understand the significance of diversity and collaboration. It has presented me with an opportunity to become the researcher I aspire to be through personal development, and honing my research skills at well-equipped labs and facilities.

What is your research area, and how will it positively affect the lives of others/the planet?

I am pursuing Master of Science program in Food Security, to delve further into socio-economic dimensions of food security, with a strong focus on Corporate Sustainability in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies. Through this degree, I can define sustainability goals to mitigate the carbon footprint of organisations, and understand the economic implications of such goals. I plan to work with top food conglomerates, helping them optimise operation lines through the implementation of green business models. After understanding the real-world intricacies involved in implementing sustainability, I want to channel this experience to help burgeoning food production units in developing countries. I aim to integrate circular value chain systems that prioritise: the symbiotic development of local communities and companies; the increased representation of women in the sector; and overall improvement of lifestyle through sustainability.

Can you describe any of the challenges or obstacles you may have faced so far in your career? Have you overcome them?

My challenges and obstacles pertain to self-limitations. As someone who is afraid of public speaking and has confidence issues, Warwick has brought about a monumental change in how I perceive myself. After numerous presentations, group work projects and encouraging classmates, I can now address any room with newfound confidence.

Do you have any advice, from your experiences, for girls and women who wish to pursue a career in science

My advice for girls and women who wish to pursue a career in science is to believe in yourselves. Never give up as true talent and skills transcend gender bias. Always keep pushing the boundaries of science through resilience, in terms of both, academia and attitude.

What do you think the future is for women in science?

As a woman in STEM, I am aware of the trials and tribulations that a modern woman is subjected to when she decides to pursue a degree, such as Chemical Engineering in my case, and step into the male-dominated world. There is a dire need for mentorship programs targeted towards increasing women's representation in STEM. As a Woman in STEM ambassador, I want to lead by example, be a ‘Leader of Change’, and thus empower women to fight against the issue that impacts us all - climate change.

The British Council scholarships for women in STEM enable female scientists from to undertake postgraduate study at Warwick, with funding covering full tuition fees, travel costs, a monthly stipend, and other course-related costs. Applications are currently open for five scholarships available to female students from Brazil and Mexico. Click here for more information.Link opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window