BE , MTech
2nd year PhD student
(Materials Science and Engineering)
Our ninth profilee is Jayshri Dumbre, another PhD student in the MSE department. I'm lucky enough to have a desk next to Jayshri, and it seems like she has a new set of samples or batch of photos (from the nano to macro scale!) every day. Jayshri completed her undergraduate and masters studies in metallurgical engineering at some of the best institutes in India (COEP and IIT Bombay respectively), and won a gold medal for her exceptional academic performance. She then went on to work in the metallurgical industry for 11 years at Kirloskar Oil Enginers Ltd, Crompton Greaves and Aditya Birla Science and Technology Co. Ltd, before coming to Monash to develop novel, strong and corrosion resistant scandium containing aluminium alloys - check out some of her work here and here.
When she's not in the lab, she can usually be found outdoors on a hike, mountain climbing or photographing everything under the sun (one of her shots of Komodo dragons at Rinca Island in Indonesia can be seen to the right). Her energy for exploring new things as well as her calm and can-do attitude inspire me greatly. Jayshri loves nature in all its forms, from beautiful to deadly - she is a certified mountaineer (basic and advanced mountaineering techniques), and has completed three Himalayan expeditions, with the highest being Mt. Stok Kangri (J&K, India) at 20,100 ft. above sea level. She's earned her mountaineering experience the hard way - in 2016, Jayshri survived falling into a crevasse of the Dokriani Bamak glacier. You can read about her hair-raising adventure here, and here. As if that wasn't enough nature for one lifetime, she's also spent time volunteering as a forest ranger in the Bhimashankar Forest. Read about her patrolling experience here.
Onto a few words from the amazing Jayshri herself!
What is your involvement in engineering?
I am a metallurgist by profession and have served various industries by researching better metals, alloys and processes in the last decade. I realised the value of research and education and that’s where I left my high salary job and started a PhD in materials engineering. My current work involves designing new alloys, developing new processes and analysing alloy micro-structures at atomic scale resolution using high-end electron microscopy techniques.
What inspired you to choose materials engineering?
Well, I was born and brought up in India and both of my parents are non-graduates. So basically no-one guided me in selecting metallurgy and materials science. However, I must say that my school education generated interest in science for me and that’s how I selected science before commencing my degree in engineering. As far as metallurgical engineering goes, it’s a sheer luck that I got admission to this mesmerising science stream. Having said that, my biggest inspiration in choosing engineering over other (safe) options for women was my father who consistently made efforts to make me understand my passion and not to settle for something other than my ultimate dream.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM?
The first and biggest challenge was resistance from my family, friends and relatives about me entering a male-dominated field like metallurgy. They expected me to be jobless and struggle a lot! I ignored everyone for the time-being as I wanted to show results instead of giving talks. A decade ago, manufacturing industries in India were not serious about women engineers being able to work in the harsh environments of factory set-ups. You might be surprised to hear that I was the only women in the entire factory of Kirloskar Auto-components unit in Nashik, India and that I had to share the men’s toilets as there were no toilets built for women! I had to prove that women are no less than men and I did so by performing and exceeding everyone’s expectations for every research problem I was given. The results were glorious as I was awarded many times on multiple projects and I gained respect from all the people I worked with. Sometimes, I feel that being a minority in the metallurgical industry really helped in shaping me as a person. It made me a fighter and a more confident person than I ever was before.
What advice would you give to young women in STEM?
This is your chance to prove yourself and to break barriers. The world cannot stop you from reaching your dreams, it’s only you and the limitation you impose on yourself. Think of it as an opportunity and hence don’t step back to realise your dreams. No matter how biased the world is; fight like a girl, be the initiator to eliminate inequality and build yourself stronger.
Finally, what's something (unusual) that keeps you going every day?
Almost everything! I am a big nature and art lover, hence I enjoy weekends hiking at beautiful places photographing or sometimes painting some cool stuff. Travelling is my passion and I make sure to visit new places, to meet new people and to keep a curiosity in me alive. Life is so short to waste and I want to live every bit of it to its fullest.