Roya is an Iranian-born materials scientist passionate about 3D printing and plant-based materials such as bioplastics.
What do you do on an average work day? He aha tō mahi ia rā, ia rā?
As a scientist at Scion, I am involved in different research and commercial projects. That means my average work day includes working in the lab, analysing data, discussing with my colleagues over the results, writing reports, replying to emails and meetings with our research team/clients.
The part of my work that I enjoy most is working in the lab especially the 3D printers part, that I can design and print complex geometries.
I'm also excited to be currently working with Kai Rotorua and Rotorua High School students on a project exploring the importance of kūmara through 3D printing.
Having the beautiful redwood forest as a gift just next to our back door at Scion, I do walking/running and in summer mountain biking in my lunch time with my colleagues.
What did you study at school? And after high school? I ako koe i te aha i te kura? I aha koe whai muri i te kura tuarua?
I went to school in Iran and because maths was my favourite course from a very early age, I choose to focus on mathematics in the school. I also studied physics, chemistry, English, history and general studies.
After high school I did my bachelor's and master’s degrees in polymer engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology and Sahand University of Technology, which are both in Iran. After graduating, I started working as a research engineer and lab technician in three different companies.
It was 2014 that I read about 3D printing technology before this huge boom that we now see. I got so interested in this revolutionary technology and I started looking for any PhD position related to this technology. Finally, I found my dream project in the Chemical and Process Department at the University of Canterbury. I applied for this position and after a long waiting time I got UC Doctoral Scholarship and NZ student visa.
I graduated in 2018 from the university and before even finishing my PhD, I got the offer for the scientist position in Scion. Now I am enjoying my work there every day.
Was your study directly related to what you do now? He ōrite tāu mahi i taua wā ki tāu mahi o ināianei?
I am working in polymer and composite group at Scion which is strongly related to what I have studied before. Especially because one of the projects that I am involved is an extension of my PhD project.
What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now? He aha āu kupu hei āwhina i ngā rangatahi wahine e whakaaro ana ki tā rātou mahi mō te wā kei mua i te aroaro?
Chase your dreams and believe that you can achieve them. There are a lot of boundaries in everybody's life, but these boundaries should make us stronger in fighting for our dreams.
What are some of your career highlights so far? He aha ngā painga o te umanga e whāia ana e koe?
I was being awarded with different scholarships and funding during my studies and career.
However my personal career highlights are seeing the results of the projects that I was involved in and the effect of these results on the environment and on people’s lives.
Why do you believe engaging in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is important to New Zealand? He aha a STEM (pūtaiao, hangarau, pūkaha, pāngarau) e whai take ana ki Aotearoa?
Science, technology, engineering and maths are the keys for the growth and development of every country and people's wellbeing.
Engaging in these areas helps us to understand and try to solve the problems we have in New Zealand and the whole world.
Why is it important to have more women working in STEM? He aha te take me whai wāhi ngā wāhine ki STEM?
It is always important to have greater diversity, including gender diversity in STEM. This brings different views and ideas and ways of thinking for decision making and problem solving. Without it, we are limited.
Roya is an Iranian-born materials scientist passionate about 3D printing and bio-based polymeric materials. Read about the 3D printing kūmara project she is part of.
This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM.
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