In this blog, we had the opportunity to discuss women in STEM with one of our analysts Geraldine Baca Triveno. Ciaran O’Connell asks her about her fascinating STEM background, what drives her, why Deloitte and where to from here. Both Geraldine and Ciaran are part of the Deloitte Australia Space practice Ciaran – When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? Geraldine – As children we are encouraged to dream big and my dreams were certainly not small. As a young girl, I knew I wanted to build giant robots and launch them into space (thanks to anime and video games) and I knew science and engineering were the only career paths for me. The thought of “but is a career in science a good path for a girl?” never crossed my mind. I knew what I wanted and I went for it. Ciaran – Why the interest in STEM disciplines? Geraldine – I was always very good at maths, physics and chemistry so I thought mechatronic engineering would be the appropriate career considering my interests. However, I also enjoyed biology and I was not ready to say farewell to molecular and gene studies. The idea of doing maths, physics, chemistry, biology and engineering all in 1 career was very appealing to me, so I started a bachelor of Nanotechnology at UNSW. Ciaran – Tell me about how you have applied the theory. Geraldine That’s when my interest in innovative technologies and applications started. For instance, a polymer class was the beginning of my interest in self-healing materials and bionic engineering. A thermal physics class introduced me to the fascinating world of thermoelectricity and its applications in space explorations. I always saw the innovative potential in my courses and loved to do more research on my own. It was something I was always very good at and deeply enjoyed. I graduated with a 1st class honours in Nanotechnology, and just when it was time to ask myself “and what to do next?” my honours supervisor and offered me a PhD position and I said yes, as I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to nurture my interest in manufacturing and smart materials. My thesis “Multifunctionality of SrTiO3 Nanocubes” opened the door to a myriad of applications. From hydrogen production by water splitting, to semiconductors, memory devices and even rocket engines! Ciaran – What attracted you to consulting and Deloitte? Geraldine During my final year as PhD, I started thinking about my future. I enjoyed research, and science was, and still is, a passion of mine. However, after 7 years of being in university, I didn’t see myself in the lab for the rest of my life – I wanted to see how I could apply myself and make an impact in a broader sense I attended a career event organised by UNSW and that’s when I learned about the career of consulting. I learned that I could use the skills I gained as a researcher and my passion for innovation in one fun and challenging environment. When I started at Deloitte, I never, not even in my wildest dreams, thought I could be working in a space practice, but here I am. I’m very excited with the prospect to be able to apply my skills and interests in innovation and technologies, helping a variety of industries, agencies and being able to shape a part in the future of the Australian Space sector. Deloitte really is an amazing place full of different opportunities. Ciaran – What advice would you give to females thinking about applying STEM in different ways as their career? Geraldine My suggestion for girls who want to pursue a career in STEM: Go for it! Engineering and Science are wonderful careers with so many possibilities — whether it be design, technical sales, product development, research, consulting or even space!