By Elsabet Wessels and Shannon Derman
Dr Renée Prins was invited by Dr Diane Saunders and Prof Graham Moore from the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, to be the keynote speaker at their “UK Women in Wheat Mentoring Workshop” in June this year. We have been privileged in the past to work with Diane on a research project and she is also a mentor in our ongoing quest to become familiar with wheat bioinformatics. At this workshop, Renée had to opportunity to talk to young female scientists about the challenges and rewards of working in plant genetics as an industry role player in Africa, and to tell them about her personal journey to establish CenGen.
We were also recently asked to present at the DSI‘s National Science Week! The overarching theme of the National Science Week was “Making It Possible Through Science”, and we felt it fitting to share not only what we do at CenGen, but to share the story of one of our CenGen staff, Bennet Leriba, with the hope that his journey in science can motivate young South Africans to pursue science in the future. CenGen formed part of a multidisciplinary team within the DIPLOMICS network that together covered the topic of “Beneath the Surface of Omics in South Africa”. We used our platform to introduce the public to our lab in Worcester, the services we offer, the type of research we are involved in, the downstream impact/larger societal impact of our work in South Africa, as well as the career path someone should consider if they would like to work in our particular field of science.
We are thankful for being offered these opportunities to showcase what we do and to tell our story. Hopefully it inspires young students to embark on their own scientific journey!