Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

11 February 2024

According to UNESCO, women make up 33.3% of researchers, with only 12% holding memberships in National science academies. Despite a scarcity of skills in tech fields, women constitute only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of computer science and informatics graduates. In innovative AI fields, just one in five professionals is a woman.

At Sunstar, research and innovation have been our guiding stars since the beginning. Evolution and innovation have shaped our journey from healthcare to industry. Our products, born from years of in-house investigation led by dedicated professionals worldwide, stand as a testament to our commitment.

Data reveals a significant journey ahead before society transcends gender distinctions in science. As John Wooden wisely said, “If you do enough small things right, big things can happen.” This motivates us to celebrate Women and Girls in Science, featuring our own trailblazers – Jessica Gunder, Senior Research Engineer at Sunstar Engineering Americas; Xing Yin, Researcher at Sunstar Guangzhou; Maria Moiz, Senior Software Controls and Validation Engineer at Sunstar Americas; and Achara U-charoen, Engineering Assistant Manager at Sunstar Chemical Thailand.

Achara U-charoen
Maria Moiz accepting her Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Why did you choose to work in science?

Women and girls represent half of the world’s potential. However, statistics show that girls are less encouraged to pursue STEM careers. We asked Jessica Gunder, Xing Yin, Maria Moiz, and Achara U-charoen about their paths to science.

“My choice to pursue a career in a scientific field was a relatively easy one. From a young age, I loved puzzles and building. My parents thought that my interests would be best fulfilled by majoring in engineering. After graduating with a degree in Materials Engineering, I had the tools necessary to find solutions to simple or complex problems. To me, being able to solve chemistry related puzzles and build new processes is immensely gratifying.” – explains Jessica Gunder.

Maria Moiz, on the other hand, states: “I opted to pursue a career in science due to its inherent fascination and limitless potential. While others may perceive it as challenging, I am drawn to its intricacies. I derive more enjoyment from perusing scientific journals than novels, captivated by the boundless possibilities it offers. Science possesses the unique ability to materialize concepts into reality while maintaining logical coherence, a characteristic that deeply resonates with me”.

“I chose science courses when I was in high school, then my major in college and graduate school was polymer chemistry. I enjoy creating something new and making it useful, so I chose to work in science after graduating.” – is Xing Yin’s reason to follow a path in a STEM related field.

“Since I graduated in science, I thought that I should be able to apply to my work and when I came to work in Research & Development, I really liked it because I was able to design according to what I thought, so it's fun to work.” – Achara U-charoen.

Jessica Gunder graduating in Materials Engineering
What are you working on at the moment?

Engaged in two distinct industries, Jessica, Maria, Xing, and Achara navigate unique workdays, each immersed in diverse projects.

“I am working on a special project involving automation. Sunstar Engineering Americas has quite a few manual processes that could be made more efficient with the addition of automation. Over the next few months, I will be consulting with equipment manufacturers and other experts to develop a plan to retrofit our current manufacturing vessels to reduce manual operations. Also, I am a part of a team of chemists and engineers studying our current manufacturing processes to reduce cycle times and corrections. A goal of this study is to increase our current capacity while still being fiscally responsible. Efficiency and process automation are important components of this year’s Hoshin, and I am excited to be able to make a contribution.” - explains Jessica Gunder.

On the other hand, Xing Yin tells us, “Now I am working on developing structure adhesive for the lightweight material of car body, such as aluminium and fibre reinforced composites. Modern lightweight designs require new bonding technologies in addition to new materials and/or an increased material mix. The structure adhesive can increase stiffness and joint durability of the car, and due to its crash-durable ability, it can further improve a vehicle’s crash behaviour.”

“In my current role, I am leading efforts to implement controls on our legacy AS400 system-based ERP to ensure compliance as we transition to a more advanced system at Sunstar. Recently, I spearheaded the validation of the BlueMountain Regulatory Asset Manager, streamlining our processes by transitioning from manual documentation to a more efficient electronic system. Additionally, I have developed a training program for my colleagues to underscore the significance of validation and assurance activities in mitigating risks throughout the software life cycle. These initiatives underscore our commitment to quality and driving progress within our organization.” - Maria Moiz.

Achara U-charoen explains, “I handle overall the job of the RD and QC department. My main responsibilities are the Paint Shop and Interior group.”

Xing Yin working on her project
What advice would you give your younger self?

These “Women in Science” inspire young girls to pursue STEM related careers. Acknowledging life's unpredictable nature, we asked them what advice they would give to their younger selves.

“I would tell my younger self to keep dreaming big and take chances. Who you are now, might not be who you are in 5 or 10 years so be adventurous and live a little. It’s okay to make mistakes, but make sure to learn from them. Also, surround yourself with good people that will help drive your passions.” – Jessica Gunder

“The potential for advancement is boundless. Emphasize strengths and optimize time management. Commit to a singular trajectory, which can encompass diverse avenues. This flexibility is a key benefit of remaining grounded in the fields of science, particularly within the realms of engineering and medical devices.”– Maria Moiz states.

Achara claims that she would tell her younger self, “To learn several additional languages, so that can be used to help with research internationally.”

Xing suggests, “To not worry about anything, just have a go at things.”

Xing Yin working in the laboratory
How has Sunstar supported your career?

In our pursuit to be a top company for employee happiness, supporting women’s careers is crucial. UNESCO highlights challenges in achieving gender equality even in countries with STEM parity. Learn how Sunstar has supported these women's careers, providing opportunities for growth, training, and international research.

Xing Yin explains: “In Sunstar, I gained experiences in developing and applying automotive adhesive for customer’s need. It provides me opportunities to research different products, such as water-based adhesive, mastic adhesive, structural adhesive, etc.”

“Sunstar has provided invaluable support to my career by instilling confidence in my ability to adapt and make independent decisions. Recognizing the value of a conducive work environment, the management fosters a culture of autonomy, allowing me to thrive without constant oversight. Moreover, Sunstar acknowledges the significance of flexibility for women in balancing career advancement with familial responsibilities. Within my team at Sunstar Americas, the prevailing culture has contributed to a fulfilling professional journey, and I am optimistic about the promising trajectory ahead for both myself and the organization.” – Maria Moiz

Achara U-charoen states that: “Sunstar provides opportunities to learn new things, like for example, the Sunstar Group offers training and the possibility to go on business trips overseas. They also support research knowledge and equipment.”

“With the guidance of experienced managers, I have advanced from technician to senior chemist/engineer. Sunstar has allowed me to pursue multiple interests inside the company, including chemistry and engineering. I have been able to assume a hybrid role in the development of new products and processes because of their willingness to take a chance. Also, I am able to pursue my drive for continuous learning by attending conferences/seminars and classes to learn a new language. Not every career path is linear and their recognition of that has helped me grow both as a person and a Sunstar team member.” - explains Jessica.

Jessica Gunder receiving an award

As we celebrate their contributions, we strive for a future where every girl finds herself reflected in the diverse tapestry of science. Sunstar is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion, striving to create an environment where everyone has equal opportunities for growth and contribution, irrespective of gender.

Join us in celebrating Women and Girls in Science Day and learn more about our research, grants, and award opportunities here.