Interviewee: Mye Makornwattana
Interviewer, Editor: Tonwaan Apiratikiat
Graphic Designer: Heidi Wong
My name is Mye Makornwattana (@myemakorn), I’m from Bangkok, Thailand, and I’m passionate about a range of topics from biochemistry and immunology, to healthcare and gender inequality. I’m planning to attend University in the United States and study Biology/Biochemistry. Specifics that I am especially interested in are immunology and micro/molecular biology, and I also really love chemistry.
What made you want to pursue medicine? Who or what inspired you to want to become a doctor?
I wanted to pursue medicine and specifically be a surgeon because I love hands-on work and challenges. I find joy in active work, something that is ever-changing and requires consistent learning and updating. I am also very passionate about healthcare inequality and have done research regarding traditional medicine and how that can benefit rural communities that don’t have access to commercial medication. I’m inspired by the idea that I can enact change on a large scale through research, while also profoundly impacting patients, and that I get to deeply explore subjects I love.
What are the specific challenges of being a woman in STEM? Are there certain double standards that you face?
I believe that the community around me is very open to women not following stereotypical expectations, and I am very grateful for that. But, I do think that there are challenges from the stigmas that men have “more of a brain for STEM” and with women being doubted in the field, I definitely see that women often have to do more than men in order to prove themselves and their ability.
What are your thoughts on the lack of representation of women in STEM?
I think that the lack of representation is being improved as more women join STEM. But I believe it can still be better if more young girls are encouraged and empowered to pursue it. Before I chose to take International Baccalaureate level Biology and Chemistry, I once thought that I may not have been smart enough for STEM and that maybe science just “wasn’t for me.” But after taking the chance, I realized that we are all perfectly capable if we are given the opportunity to prove that to ourselves.
We are all perfectly capable if we are given the opportunity to prove that to ourselves.
- Mye Makornwattana
How does your organization Women in Science Entrepreneurship (WISE) help empower women in science innovation and STEM?
My organization has created a booklet which encourages young girls to start their own initiatives which leads them to a position of leadership that empowers them, and allows them to empower other girls in their community. We also offer educational resources such as the Business Camp which teaches innovation, and offer writing platforms where they can share their ideas.
What change do you hope to see in the future in your field?
I hope to see more women, especially from Thailand, join the STEM field and hold higher positions in hospitals and research labs. I know that women are capable, and there is now more acceptance for us to be leading the field. We have to believe in ourselves and continue advocating for ourselves.
Why is it important that we have young women participating in STEM?
It’s important because once these young women are exposed to the STEM field, they have the chance to decide whether or not they want to pursue it. Their pursuit of STEM can lead to them benefiting their own community and improving healthcare inequalities if they return as physicians or researchers that take action to better their community’s health.
How do we encourage young girls to get involved in STEM?
We need to make resources more accessible and prove to them that it isn’t impossible. We, as women in STEM, have a responsibility to inspire younger girls that they, too, can pursue it. This can be done through direct service, funding for their resources, or advocating for more equality for girls’ education.
Follow WISE on social media!