Stroke Science: From Lab to Life. “That’s what I want to tell young women: try until you succeed. If you're really passionate about something, don't give up.” Anushree Dwivedi PhD, Research & Development Engineer, CERENOVUS

Stroke Science: From Lab to Life.

“At CERENOVUS, I’ve been offered the opportunity to pursue the career of my dreams after moving across the world, and that’s what I want to tell young women: try until you succeed. If you're really passionate about something, don't give up.”

Meet Anushree Dwivedi, a research and development (R&D) engineer with CERENOVUS. In this instalment for our Stroke Science: From Lab to Life series, and to honour International Women’s Day, we spoke to Anu about her journey to becoming an R&D engineer, what excites her most about her role and how she’s encouraging and inspiring women to take up a career in STEM.   

Anu always wanted a job that combined engineering, science, and the ability to make a difference. She is incredibly passionate about encouraging girls and women to join the field of STEM, particularly following her own father’s support and confidence to pursue her dreams, moving from India to the U.S., and onto Ireland. 

Can you tell us about your journey into becoming an R&D engineer? 

To be very honest, when I was younger, I was stuck between whether to study to become a doctor or an engineer. If I studied to become a doctor, I’d miss the engineering bit, but then if I wanted to be an engineer, I’d miss the science bit! So, I chose biomedical engineering, which combined both and allowed me to work in an industry I’ve always wanted to, but also connect with people in academia as well as clinicians in hospital settings.

Featured on RTE News: Working on advanced stroke models in the lab at CERENOVUS.
Featured on RTE News: Working on advanced stroke models in the lab at CERENOVUS.

What is it about your work that motivates you?

I love what I do because every day comes with new challenges and is different. What I do every day actually makes a difference to people’s lives! That really motivates me. 

Working in research & development at CERENOVUS is fantastic in terms of the work I get to do, but also in terms of the opportunities for development and inclusion as a female engineer. I get to help and engage with young girls to encourage them to choose a career in STEM. It’s so rewarding being able to use my position and experience to help spark that interest in young people through the extended J&J WiSTEM2D programmes that CERENOVUS supports. 

 

Observing Surgery during my undergraduate degree to identify a problem and solved it. 
Observing Surgery during my undergraduate degree to identify a problem and solved it.

What would you say to a woman who is thinking about a career in this field?

I always wanted to have a career in STEM but understood that women are likely to experience more barriers or challenges in this field. For me, it was a real struggle coming all the way from India to Ireland, especially as I came alone not knowing who to go to for help. People may say “why not choose another subject?” But I didn’t want to – why should anyone compromise on their dream and aspirations? I said I’ll be strong. Fearless. I’ll study what I like.  

That’s what I’d say to girls and women. If you are really, really passionate about something, don’t give up. Try until you succeed. Yes, it will require effort and persistence, but there are support systems in place now for women to enter the STEM community. Make the best use of these opportunities, work hard and you will shine like a star. 

At CERENOVUS, we support initiatives that enable us to connect and engage with our communities. So, alongside the WiSTEM2D programme, I reach out to students in schools, as I think it’s very important to develop and spark interest at a young age. I tell them I’m female and an engineer, working in a technology field – they’re often shocked at the realisation that you don’t have to look like Albert Einstein!  

Enjoyed Engineering and Science while studying in college
Enjoyed Engineering and Science while studying in college


 
Can you tell us about the WiSTEM2D (Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design) programme in partnership with the National University of Ireland in Galway and what inspired it?

I’ve studied across campuses in the U.S. and in Ireland, and it’s especially hard when you enter a class on your first day and there are 10 to 15 girls, compared to 300 boys. It was tough, and during my college days I saw female friends who were studying engineering with me really struggle and consider the option of dropping out. I tried to help as much as I could, now it’s great to see a close friend of mine, who I encouraged to keep going, become a successful engineer and doing really well in her career. 

I enjoy helping people, so when I had the opportunity to work at CERENOVUS, I was motivated to ensure that we offer that opportunity to others. I wanted other girls to receive the kind of support that my father gave me so they can achieve their dreams. For around a year at CERENOVUS, I worked really hard to set up this initiative at our site where we’d support female STEM students from the local university, through the expansion of the J&J WiSTEM2D programme. I completed the formalities to get this set up, and in 2021 we successfully launched and partnered with the National University of Ireland in Galway to launch the scheme. 

This event had a huge impact not just locally, but globally too. We received over 70 applications, and 10 female students were selected and given a scholarship from Johnson & Johnson, and a mentor from CERENOVUS to help and guide their career paths and give them valuable advice when needed.

Our Galway site is dedicated to making devices that treat stroke patients, and more broadly at Galway we organise workshops and speakers for the STEM students where they can learn about the opportunities in the industry, and receive help on how to write their CV, manage their LinkedIn profile, and network with people in the industry. 

 

Presenting the art-piece to the WiSTEM2D program award winners at NUI Galway
Presenting the art-piece to the WiSTEM2D program award winners at NUI Galway

To date, what has made the biggest impact to get where you’re at today? 

My father has showed me support throughout my career. He stood by me and said go and face the challenges, you’ll come out stronger and make a great career out of it. “Choose STEM and be an example.” 

Many people think men can’t support a “women in STEM” initiative. But my message to the men reading this is that you should support it even more so, because you could be a husband, father, brother to a woman. 

Everyone should support it, it’s not just females supporting females, it’s everyone. We need to break the stereotypes and show children, whether male or female, you can be anything in this world.

My parents proudly attended my graduation ceremony - received Doctorate degree.
My parents proudly attended my graduation ceremony - received Doctorate degree.