1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to secondary content
  4. Skip to sidebar


Women Who Inspire

Women Who Inspire

Luz Marina Dueñas

Luz Marina Dueñas

Programme Officer, Nuclear Energy Programme Coordination Group

Janice Dunn Lee

Janice Dunn Lee

Deputy Director General, Head of the IAEA Department of Management

Thabisile Moleah

Thabisile Moleah

Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Africa

Murielle Mrabit

Murielle Mrabit

Unit Head, Human Resources


Brenda Pagannone

Brenda Pagannone

Training Specialist, Nuclear Power Engineering Section

Monica Sbaffoni

Monica Sbaffoni

Group Leader, Nuclear Knowledge Management Section

Meera Venkatesh

Meera Venkatesh

Director, Physical and Chemical Sciences Division

Mayumi Yamamoto

Mayumi Yamamoto

Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Europe



Practical Arrangements

Practical Arrangements

Story The IAEA and Texas A&M University, USA are now working together to boost the number of women who pursue scientific careers - both organizations have signed the Practical Arrangements, defining the scope of cooperation under this venture, 14 May 2014. Read more →

IAEA Daughters Day 2014

Daughters Day

Story On Daughters Day 2014, the IAEA showed teenage girls some of the career options in the field of science and technology, by exposing them to accomplished female staffers doing interesting work which impacts lives around the world, 25 April 2014. Read more →


Women in Science

Get Adobe Flash player

Video Traditionally, the world of nuclear science and technology may be a male-dominated field – but times are changing. Five woman talk about their work at the IAEA, their motivations and job satisfaction and encourage more women to join their ranks.

Moving Beyond Stereotypes

International Women's Day 2014

Story In honour of International Women's Day on 8 March 2014, the IAEA hosted a discussion on the experience of men working for strong, influential women,
5 March 2014. Read more →


Women in Nuclear

Gabi Voigt

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Director, IAEA Safeguards Analytical Laboratories

Anne Starz

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Policy Expert and Head of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Group

Amparo Cristobal

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Physicist and Consultant in IAEA Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety Division

Renate Czarwinski

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Nuclear Health Physicist and Head of the Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section


Adeline Djeutie

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Africa

Eva Gyane

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Nuclear Safeguards Inspector

Sharon Soliban

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Technician, IAEA Insect Pest Control Laboratory

Yvonne Lokko

Get Adobe Flash player

Audio Plant Breeder/Geneticist, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture



More Resources


Get Adobe Flash player

Gabi Voigt

Director, IAEA Safeguards Analytical Laboratories

What interests and inspires me is the broadness of nuclear applications from human health to the environment; from energy to safeguards.

Gabi Voigt was born in Germany, and studied Biology, Genetics, and Radiobiology in Munich. She didn't set out to be a nuclear scientist, but her career path changed when she took a position with the German Institute of Radiation Hygiene in 1979. "When I started working in the nuclear field I was the only woman in a department with 16 men. Throughout my career I was often the only woman in an all-male setting. Even now, as someone in a high-level position within IAEA Safeguards, I'm often in the situation where I am the only woman. Things are changing, but changing very slowly."

Gabi is still enthusiastic about being a nuclear scientist. "What interests and inspires me is the broadness of nuclear applications from human health to the environment; from energy to safeguards. The technology can help so many people and can bring peace to the world! And that, I find fascinating."

Get Adobe Flash player

Anne Starz

Policy Expert and Head of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Group

Every day I get to work with very smart people who I can learn from. I've found that nuclear scientists and scientists in general approach the world with a set of questions. They're curious about everything. And they tend to be very interesting people. So the most rewarding aspect of my job is the people I get to work with.

I'm a policy expert and I was involved in nuclear policy matters for the US government for about a decade before coming to Vienna. I worked for the Department of Energy in the areas of non-proliferation, nuclear security and nuclear energy." Laughing, Anne says she didn't always want to be in the nuclear field, but fell into it by accident because she was looking for something interesting to do after finishing university. "Early in my career when I was young and eager and working with people who were much much more experienced than I, it was a challenge to navigate all the technical issues, coming from a social science background myself. But I learned that if you work hard, your colleagues will accept that you can add value. And if you respect each other's points of view, together you can accomplish quite a lot.

Now at the IAEA, Anne advises countries that want to start a nuclear power programme. "Someone like me can translate highly technical issues for policymakers and politicians who will actually have to make the decisions. This is a critical aspect of starting a nuclear power programme."

And the most rewarding part of Anne's job? "Working with some of the smartest people in the world."

Get Adobe Flash player

Amparo Cristobal

Physicist and Consultant in IAEA Radiation, Transport & Waste Safety Division

There are a lot of opportunities in the nuclear sector, with the growing number of applications of ionizing radiation in medicine, agriculture, industry and other areas. And also with the promised renaissance of nuclear power. So without hesitation, I would recommend that young women consider careers in this field.

"In our home, education and science were normal topics of conversation because my father was a math teacher and a principal. So it wasn't unusual for me to consider becoming a scientist. My brother ended up becoming a nuclear engineer. I studied physics, specialising in electronics and started my career in the telecommunications industry. I married a nuclear physicist and eventually began working in nuclear science because I saw how much my husband and brother enjoyed their work."

A few years ago, to see a woman working in a nuclear power plant was really unusual. The sites didn't even have appropriate changing or toilet facilities for women. Now the situation has changed because of the hard work of women over the years, and because society has evolved. Now there are women working in nuclear power plants all around the world.

Before starting at the IAEA, Amparo worked for the Spanish Nuclear Regulatory body. "I've found working in the nuclear field quite rewarding and challenging. One of the rewards is that you can help. You can contribute to the quality of life of many people." Amparo regularly visits IAEA Member States to advise their nuclear regulatory bodies on how best to improve their regulatory infrastructure.

Get Adobe Flash player

Renate Czarwinski

Nuclear Health Physicist and Head of the Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section

The nuclear field is still dominated by men. The way for a woman to keep her position is to be extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter, and be honest and transparent in her management.

Whenever you do something you should aim to be as knowledgeable as possible in that area, and to impart that knowledge to others so that not only your organisation benefits, but your colleagues benefit as well. Before coming to the IAEA, Renate worked in Germany's Federal Office for Radiation Protection. As the Head of the IAEA's Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section in the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, she deals with radiation protection for patients, workers, and the public. "I love working in an international, multicultural environment, where issues are discussed from different points of view. This culmination of ideas and perspectives is really important in my job, where one cannot neglect how culture influences safety practices.

"I like working in a team—in sports and on the job. It's very seldom that an individual is so good that he can achieve the same kinds of results solo, as if he were working with a team of people."

Renate is also Vice President of the International Radiation Protection Association, which has more than 20 000 members worldwide.

Get Adobe Flash player

Adeline Djeutie

Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Africa

Women shouldn't always be the recipients of aid, we should also help to solve the problems, the ones who work in international development. Because women, especially in Africa, are the main beneficiaries of nuclear science in everyday life.

"Never in my life did I think I would end up here at the IAEA. Because when you study international development you look for work in developing countries, not in Europe! I came across this by chance and was intrigued to know that the IAEA is involved in agriculture, human health, ensuring food and water quality, and so many other things, not just nuclear power." Adeline was born and raised in Cameroon. She studied political and social analysis and the economics of natural resources in Essen, Germany and in Grenoble, France. As a Programme Management Officer, she works with 5 African countries - Benin, Burundi, Chad, Gabon and Mauritania.

"I really enjoy my job. It's good to work in an environment where I feel that we all speak the same language per se; we all have the same passion for the continent, the same drive to improve the lives of people in Africa."

Get Adobe Flash player

Eva Gyane

Nuclear Safeguards Inspector

As a nuclear safeguards inspector I can directly contribute towards world peace through my work.

Eva was born in the former Czechoslovakia, her husband is Nigerian and her last name is Ghanaian. Eva has always been interested in doing the job of a nuclear safeguards inspector because of its important role in keeping the world safe, by verifying that nuclear material is used exclusively for peaceful purposes. "The IAEA is the only organization that has the legal right to inspect states under the international safeguards system. I love being a safeguards inspector. I love my job. I love coming here every day." About 10% of nuclear safeguards inspectors are women. And most nuclear facility operators are men. "So it means you deal with men and travel with men most of the time. I wouldn't say being a woman in this field has been a challenge. It's mostly been a pleasant experience. And we are mostly treated with respect by the nuclear facility operators."

Eva speaks 9 languages, has a Master's degree in Business Administration and another Master's degree in Nuclear Science and Technology from Manchester University. She has 3 children, who unfortunately aren't interested in nuclear science.

Get Adobe Flash player

Sharon Soliban

Technician, IAEA Insect Pest Control Laboratory

The thing I enjoy most is working with people who are passionate about what they do. There's very little competition among the people I work with. We help each other and I think this is a very good environment to be in.

"When I was going to school in the Philippines, science was always something I enjoyed doing. I was always good at Biology. So when it came to choosing a programme at university, that was the most natural thing to do. There's so much you learn by doing science, like the way to approach and solve problems; so much you can apply in other aspects of your life. Scientific methods get assimilated into your life and you look at things differently, have a different perspective." Sharon's lab deals with mosquito Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which is used to control unwanted populations of insect pests. It has been successfully applied against insects that threaten livestock and crops. Sharon is in charge of maintaining the quality and competitiveness of the male mosquito in the colonies she supervises.

"The thing I enjoy most is working with people who are passionate about what they do. It's very infectious! Enjoying my colleagues is especially important in a field like entomology where you seldom see rewards, at least not right away."

Get Adobe Flash player

Yvonne Lokko

Plant Breeder/Geneticist, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture

When I was working in Ghana, I enjoyed encouraging young girls to pursue the sciences. It was always wonderful to see girls, who like me, had thought that with GCSE and A-Levels in science one must become a doctor or pharmacist, now instead contemplate life as scientists themselves.

Yvonne originally wanted to be a pharmacist, but with only one University offering the course in Ghana at that time and the competition quite stiff, she accepted a place in the botany and zoology programme at the University of Ghana instead. By the end of that course she realised there were many opportunities to use biological sciences in industry. Of all things, it was on a class trip to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission that she became interested in nuclear science. And that's where her career got started. "When I started working, most of my colleagues were older men who were very supportive. They acted more like mentors than bullies. So no, I won't say I faced any challenges as a woman in this field."

Yvonne did her PhD research at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture in Nigeria. "I encourage all the young women I meet and work with, if they really want to remain in the sciences, to do their PhDs as quickly as possible. Because PhD research makes you a better, more competitive scientist."

Luz Marina Dueñas

Programme Officer, Nuclear Energy Programme Coordination Group

Luz Marina never gives up, so some call her tenacious. Others might just say "stubborn". She applied for her current position twice before she got it. She had also applied for other, similar positions, numerous times. But she never became discouraged. "I had a goal. There's no reason to give up if you believe that you'll one day achieve what you're aiming for."

Some context might be useful here. In the UN system, with which the IAEA is affiliated, it's quite difficult for staff in the "General" (or G) classification to transition to the "Professional" (or P) category. Luz Marina is one of a select few who has made the transition to P staff.

"I didn't listen to people who told me it's impossible to get promoted in this organisation, or even more difficult to make the big jump from G to P. I come from a family where we prepare for hard life. So nothing else is a challenge," she says, laughing.

'I used to be an active runner and swimmer. And I made friends with many interesting people, both men and women. Because they were advancing in their careers, they were able to give me some perspective on my own career. They pointed out my strengths and weaknesses. They made me aware of the great potential that I possess."

Luz Marina took their critique to heart and pursued several postgraduate courses in Finance, Human Resources and Management until she received her MA in Management. "This was a decisive factor in being promoted from G to P - the pursuit of higher education."

She speaks Spanish, English, French and German fluently. She's less fluent in Italian, Arabic and Russian.

Luz Marina's Advice to Young Girls:

Educate yourself. Constantly seek to improve and learn new things. Hate the status quo. Never be content with where you are or what you achieved last year. Set clear goals and go after them with determination. Walk the talk. I have a daughter who is 14 years old and I always tell her to back up her words with actions. And never make promises you can't keep.

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Janice Dunn Lee

Deputy Director General, Head of the IAEA Department of Management

"I'm still a little shocked I ended up in nuclear. In school I didn't particularly care for math or science. I like people, languages, economics and politics. But after working in the nuclear field, first in the US and then in France, I've learned to love the science of nuclear energy. It's so endlessly fascinating," says Janice.

Janice started her nuclear career entirely by chance. "I was in the right place at the right time, that's all."

Fresh out of school with an undergraduate degree in Sociology and a Masters in International Relations, she landed an internship with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of International Programmes, which was in its infancy. "I was the third person they hired actually." She worked her way through the ranks and when she left the organization after more than 30 years, she was directing the Office of International Programmes, and its 35 staff members. "I always tell people that I'm the poster child for the USNRC Internship programme," she laughs.

She worked at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency as the Deputy Director General in France for almost 5 years before coming to the IAEA.

Now Janice is the IAEA's only female Deputy Director General, the highest ranking woman in the organization. She's been in the position since January 2012. "The position involves people and money - the two most important elements of an organization," she says. "I can bring those things together to ensure that the organization runs as effectively and efficiently as possible." She currently manages about 630 people.

Janice's Advice to Young Girls:

Today there are many job opportunities for women in science, engineering, and mathematics. If you have any kind of inclination in those areas, you're golden.

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Thabisile Moleah

Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Africa

As a Programme Management Officer, Thabisile plans and implements projects in 5 African IAEA Member States: Cameroon, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Ghana. "In March 2012 I will have been doing this for 6 years," she says. "It's challenging. But when I visit the countries and see the farmers who now have successful harvests and children with cancer who are getting treatment as a result of the peaceful application of nuclear techniques, all the challenges are absolutely worth it."

Thabisile is originally from South Africa. She spent 19 years in exile in the US, fleeing the brutal Apartheid regime. She returned to South Africa when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990. "Today's South Africa is much better for girls. Thank goodness! My favourite subjects in primary school were biology and math. But when I went to secondary school I had a math teacher who didn't believe that little black girls could do math. His racism could have broken me. Instead it made me a fighter. I thought, "I'll show him that little black girls CAN do math." She received her undergraduate degree in Nutrition where mathematics was a required subject and eventually, her PhD in Public Health Nutrition.

"My mother was a nurse in South Africa. She ran a clinic for malnourished children. I used to go to the clinic and I tried to play with the children. But they were so listless. They didn't want to play. They just sat looking sad. I asked my mother why and she explained that they weren't eating enough food for their growing bodies. So they were susceptible to infections, and their growth was stunted. Poor nutrition also affected brain development, and that's why they were so lethargic. From then on I decided that I was going to make sure that no child had to live like that. That's why I studied nutrition."

Thabisile's Advice to Young Girls:

"There is no difference between girls and boys when it comes to studying sciences and math. They're not boys' subjects. Don't let race, money or gender stop you. Because none of these things matter. Math and science are for everyone."

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Murielle Mrabit

Unit Head, Human Resources

"In school I liked languages because I wanted to learn more about other people and cultures. I also liked history and economics. I didn't like the sciences. That wasn't my cup of tea at all," says Murielle.

A native French speaker, she's fluent in English and German as well. And she speaks some Spanish and Arabic.

Getting to know people and helping them reach their goals was always important to Murielle. She started her career as a bilingual secretary. Then, when she received her MBA after a few years of distance learning, she moved into Human Resources, where she thought she could have the most impact on people.

"I like making people's lives easier. That's what makes me happy. So recruitment was a natural fit. I got to tell people that they were selected for jobs they really wanted; and I got to help managers find the right staff for vacant positions." Murielle smiles widely. "How could I not be happy with that?"

After 10 years in recruitment, she moved to staff administration. "I really enjoy promoting a good, supportive work environment for the staff at the IAEA. That's one of the things I like most about my job."

Murielle's Advice to Young Girls:

As a former recruitment officer, I can tell you that if you have an eye on future job prospects, science is definitely one of the ways to go. Many girls pursue soft subjects like marketing, but often there aren't enough opportunities in those areas. The case is quite different in the science, especially in the lesser-known scientific disciplines like nuclear medicine.

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Brenda Pagannone

Training Specialist, Nuclear Power Engineering Section

"In high school I met a great Egyptian teacher who made me love mathematics. I thought it was a lot of fun. So that's what I ended up studying at university. Mind you, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I just studied what I loved." After that, Brenda spent a few months as a researcher in the field of prosthetics for knees, hips and ankles. Turns out she was more than a little squeamish. So she moved on, spending 7 years as a business consultant with Accenture. After that she got her feet wet with the IAEA as a Junior Professional Officer (JPO), a position sponsored by the Italian government. After 2 years she applied for and was offered a position as a Training Officer in Nuclear Power. She now helps governments and experts communicate more clearly and effectively about their countries' nuclear power programmes; helping them engage with the public and young people in particular.

"It might seem like an odd fit - a mathematician who helps people communicate. But in this team my boss is a mechanical engineer, one of my colleagues studied law, another studied education. All these different perspectives and ways of solving problems work together beautifully to serve IAEA Member States."


Brenda's Advice to Young Girls:

Study what you love and have fun. When you study science you might not have the specific knowledge that's required for other jobs, but you have something that I think is far more valuable, the ability to solve problems, and see them from a unique angle. That's something employers are looking for when they recruit staff.

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Monica Sbaffoni

Group Leader, Nuclear Knowledge Management Section

"When I was a child I didn't know what I wanted to be. I simply knew that I wanted to help people have better lives. Math and physics were my favourite subjects because I wanted to understand how nature behaves. I continued to explore that all the way through university and received a Masters in Physics. I did postgraduate studies in the Policies and Management of Science and Technology."

Monica did research in the field of neutron and reactor physics, and taught nuclear engineering for almost 15 years in Argentina. She also has postgraduate qualifications in Knowledge Management.

In the nuclear field, having a knowledge management system helps organisations to get the right people, with the right expertise, in the right place, at the right time, so that everything will continue to run safely. That's what she does at the IAEA.

Monica moved from studying physics into the nuclear field because of the people she met in her hometown. "There was a research centre affiliated with the Argentinian Atomic Energy Commission in the town where I grew up. I was so inspired by their scientists and technicians. They always wanted to know more, were always striving to improve something or develop something completely new. They seemed to really love what they were doing. That attitude to learning inspired me to study nuclear science and eventually work at the Argentinian Atomic Energy Commission."

Monica's Advice to Young Girls:

Do something that you consider interesting and challenging. And above everything, enjoy what you do. Because enthusiasm for a job, no matter what it is, is infectious and will inspire your team. You can be a happy woman, a good mother and a successful professional. If you fight for it, there are no limits.

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Meera Venkatesh

Director, Physical and Chemical Services Division

"As a girl I didn't know about nuclear science. I was very good at math and physics so I thought I would become a college professor. Actually, my main idea was to get a respectable job when I grew up."

With a keen eye on future career prospects, Meera studied chemistry because it had the widest application of all the sciences at the time. She began her career as a research scientist using radiopharmaceuticals and radioisotopes at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in India. She worked there for 34 years before coming to work at the IAEA in April 2011.

"I love the fact that I can connect to the entire world through my job! The work we do in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Application in particular, changes people's lives, makes lives better. There is no greater satisfaction than that."

Meera’s Advice to Young Girls:

If you're very good with your hands, you can be a surgeon; with drawing and observing plants, then an agricultural scientist; with math you can be many things, including a theoretical physicist. There is no limit simply because you're a girl. Be enthusiastic and follow your heart. Science has so many wonders to be explored! It's not necessarily the highest paying career. But the pride and satisfaction that you can get from your job can't be equated with money.

-- By Sasha Henriques, IAEA Division of Public Information. Photo by Ekaterina Nifantyeva

Mayumi Yamamoto

Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Europe

"When I was little I wanted to be an artist, a painter, a ballet dancer, a doctor. Yes, I changed my mind a few times," says Mayumi.

Art and ballet didn't work out. And she didn't become a doctor either. But she has undergraduate and Master's degrees in Pharmacy, Public Health, and Epidemiology.

"I'm actually surprised that I get to work with the IAEA. Originally I worked at a pharmaceutical company. Then I was a Junior Professional Officer at the World Health Organisation in New York for 2 years. After that I moved to Vienna to work with the UN Drug Control Programme, and then to the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

"When I first came to Vienna I thought that since I don't have a nuclear background I wouldn't be eligible to work here. But over time I realised that the IAEA's work involves more than nuclear physics. I realised that I could contribute in other areas. So when the Programme Management Officer position became vacant I applied because it's closely related to what I have done in the past.”

Mayumi says she loves working at the IAEA because the combination of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds makes the Agency a great place to keep learning new and interesting things.

"Also, as a woman, eventually you have to think about how you're going to maintain your family life as well as your profession. This is another reason I enjoy working at the IAEA. The culture of supporting working mothers is very well established here."

Mayumi's Advice to Young Girls:

There are many opportunities to grow and learn and do a variety of things if you study science. When I was a little girl in Japan, science was considered a boy's subject. But over the years, as I've travelled around the world, I can say definitively that there are as many interesting opportunities for female scientists as there are for male scientists. So if science is what you love, don't hesitate.

headline

Programme Management Officer, Technical Cooperation in Europe

"When I was little I wanted to be an artist, a painter, a ballet dancer, a doctor. Yes, I changed my mind a few times," says Mayumi.

Art and ballet didn't work out. And she didn't become a doctor either. But she has undergraduate and Master's degrees in Pharmacy, Public Health, and Epidemiology.

"I'm actually surprised that I get to work with the IAEA. Originally I worked at a pharmaceutical company. Then I was a Junior Professional Officer at the World Health Organisation in New York for 2 years. After that I moved to Vienna to work with the UN Drug Control Programme, and then to the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

"When I first came to Vienna I thought that since I don't have a nuclear background I wouldn't be eligible to work here. But over time I realised that the IAEA's work involves more than nuclear physics. I realised that I could contribute in other areas. So when the Programme Management Officer position became vacant I applied because it's closely related to what I have done in the past.”

Mayumi says she loves working at the IAEA because the combination of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds makes the Agency a great place to keep learning new and interesting things.

"Also, as a woman, eventually you have to think about how you're going to maintain your family life as well as your profession. This is another reason I enjoy working at the IAEA. The culture of supporting working mothers is very well established here."

Mayumi's Advice to Young Girls:

There are many opportunities to grow and learn and do a variety of things if you study science. When I was a little girl in Japan, science was considered a boy's subject. But over the years, as I've travelled around the world, I can say definitively that there are as many interesting opportunities for female scientists as there are for male scientists. So if science is what you love, don't hesitate.

"When I was little I wanted to be an artist, a painter, a ballet dancer, a doctor. Yes, I changed my mind a few times," says Mayumi.

Art and ballet didn't work out. And she didn't become a doctor either. But she has undergraduate and Master's degrees in Pharmacy, Public Health, and Epidemiology.

"I'm actually surprised that I get to work with the IAEA. Originally I worked at a pharmaceutical company. Then I was a Junior Professional Officer at the World Health Organisation in New York for 2 years. After that I moved to Vienna to work with the UN Drug Control Programme, and then to the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

"When I first came to Vienna I thought that since I don't have a nuclear background I wouldn't be eligible to work here. But over time I realised that the IAEA's work involves more than nuclear physics. I realised that I could contribute in other areas. So when the Programme Management Officer position became vacant I applied because it's closely related to what I have done in the past.”

Mayumi says she loves working at the IAEA because the combination of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds makes the Agency a great place to keep learning new and interesting things.

"Also, as a woman, eventually you have to think about how you're going to maintain your family life as well as your profession. This is another reason I enjoy working at the IAEA. The culture of supporting working mothers is very well established here."

Mayumi's Advice to Young Girls:

There are many opportunities to grow and learn and do a variety of things if you study science. When I was a little girl in Japan, science was considered a boy's subject. But over the years, as I've travelled around the world, I can say definitively that there are as many interesting opportunities for female scientists as there are for male scientists. So if science is what you love, don't hesitate.