The International Day of Women and Girls in Science recognizes the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. The United Nations adopted the day to promote full and equal access to science for women and girls.
According to data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), less than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women. Additionally, only around 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.
Marine Caux, R&D Scientist, Specialty Products, not only chose a career in science but also earned her PhD in the field. She began working at Thann in April 2019 after completing her doctorate at St. Andrews University in Scotland.
In honor of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we asked Marine to share her experiences and her perspective about being a scientist.
How did you become interested in a career in science?
Education has played an important role in my interest in science. I have a curious mind and I wanted explanations on a wide range of topics when I was younger. Since early on, I knew I wanted my work to have a meaningful impact on the environmental situation we are facing. Although I have not saved the world yet, I am very pleased to have fulfilled this goal of mine: at our production site in Thann, France, where I have a position as R&D scientist for specialty products, ultrafine TiO2 for environmental applications is produced daily.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment as a scientist?
I would say it is to have taken up the challenge of going through a PhD after my master’s degree. I have done some really inspiring science with a sustainable focus, which I shared within academia via conferences and publishing papers. As important to me was to share the knowledge I acquired with younger students from the research group and be able to inspire them.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The excellent teamwork within the R&D group here in Thann that allows us to tackle the challenges that are put in front of us. Whether it is 500 grams to hundreds of kilograms of TiO2, the cumulative knowledge of all the R&D team members can solve it. The interface with the different departments on the production site is really inspiring. Last but not least, I would also add the excitement of unveiling more of TiO2 science every single day.
How would you advise young women thinking about a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)?
I would offer three pieces of advice: 1) If you are curious about the world around you, want to challenge your mind and enjoy problem solving, then a career in STEM will allow you to develop yourself. 2) If you are interested in chemistry, make sure to put some effort in mathematics; it is a tool chemists need more than one would think. 3) Most importantly, take any opportunity to get out of your comfort zone: living abroad is a great one!
Anything else you would like to share?
I have not suffered from any gender inequality during my studies or my early carrier as a scientist. Although working at a production site can be challenging in this sense, I am confident that I am being considered in my role for the work I deliver and not for my gender.
Cristal, now as part of Tronox, is continuously developing new CristalACTiV™ materials to meet existing and future environmental regulations and respond to the needs of innovative applications.