Ea Kristine Clarisse Tulin
PhD student, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
The perspective of a woman is important in STEM not only for representation but because our brains can offer insights that will compliment that of men and this is important in the progression of knowledge and learning.
What do you do?
I'm studying lectins (proteins that bind to sugar chains) and how we can use these molecules to study glycoproteins in the central nervous system node of Ranvier.
Why did you choose this field?
My parents are both scientists. I was in grade school when I first did a science experiment with my dad for a school science fair, we made antibacterial soap using flowers around school! From then on, I've always had a fascination over research and science. I took up chemistry in college and was an exchange student in Japan. During my time in Tokyo, I got introduced to a biochemistry lab and I've been working in this lab from masters until now. The role models that directed me towards this path would be my parents, they exposed me to STEM at a very young age and that triggered my curiosity and gave me comfort in the field. Studying the biochemistry of the nervous system though came as a pleasant surprise. My professor introduced the topic to me during my first year of masters and I've been enjoying it ever since.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Getting accepted to a masters program both in Paris and Tokyo with full scholarship. I came from the province in the Philippines and I studied college there as well. Since I did not go to bigger universities in the city, I wasn't sure I would be able to get scholarships abroad given the competition. But here I am, a couple of year later, I got two scholarships for masters (Paris and Tokyo), I chose Tokyo, and after masters I went straight to PhD with full scholarship as well.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I've been around the field for a huge portion of my life that I've found comfort in it. It's something I can do everyday without having to think much about it. With STEM, I feel like I have so much freedom to be curious, creative and to solve problems. But to answer your second question, what really brings me joy is how I can incorporate STEM with other fields such as art, business, and community work. I think the core values you need to pursue STEM fields which are curiosity, creativity and problem-solving can be applied to so many other fields, and I would like to see how I can weave these together.
Best advice for next generation?
Past generations have worked so hard to provide us (women) with a platform to be visible and heard in STEM and related fields. There is no need to be intimated or scared anymore. If you feel like STEM is something you want to pursue, go for it! Find a role model or be your own. The perspective of a woman is important in STEM not only for representation but because our brains can offer insights that will compliment that of men and this is important in the progression of knowledge and learning.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“Do what you love, love what you do!” #eadventures