‘The Next Einstein is Female! She needs a support system and a conducive environment in order to flourish’. It was under these auspices that the AIMS Women in STEM (AIMSWIS) initiative held a mentoring event on 10 November 2018. The thirty-five women in attendance (including 19 current students, 6 alumni, 5 ESMT students, 2 researchers, 1 tutor, 1 staff member and 1 external guest) were in the capable hands of Veronica Mtonga, the energetic programme director.

The day started with a talk, “Finding your purpose” by Ms Rakgwahla Jessica Phalafala, a current PhD student. The talk left the audience at a loss for words as Ms Phalafala unpacked the tremendous task of uncovering one’s purpose in life. According to Ms Phalafala, “your purpose lies where your passion, profession and mission intersect”. “At the centre of one’s purpose”, she highlighted, “is being of service to others.” Following which, Dr Simukai Utete, a senior resident researcher, spoke about “Opportunities while at AIMS”. Aimed mainly at the current AIMS Master’s students, the talk encouraged students to make the most of the opportunities made available to them at AIMS. She also emphasised that with exploring these new opportunities, students should not disregard what they already know but rather to “draw on existing knowledge in order to make sense of the world.”

This was followed by panelist discussion, moderated by the Ms Funmilayo Makinde, a current AIMS research Master’s student. The panelists included Ms Irene Kyomugisha, Ms Zakiena Hoossen, Ms Martha Kamkuemah, Dr Milaine Sergine as well as Ms Phalafala. The discussion took an interesting twist as the panelists shared intimate details of their lives covering a wide range of topics including personal growth, making it in industry, the work-life balance, studying in a foreign language, to name but a few.

To wrap up the event, Dr. Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe introduced the AIMSWIS mentoring programme which will run throughout the course of the year. The programme involves matching current students to mentors who will provide continuous support during the academic year.

A big vote of thanks to Dr. Rejoyce Gavhi-Molefe, Noluvuyo Hobana, Funmilayo Makinde, Josephine Tetteh, Irene Kyomushiga, Rakgwahla Jessica Phalafala, and Irene Claudia Noharinaivo for their tireless efforts in organising the event.