Member Spotlight: Dr Nishata Royan A/P Rajendran Royan
Dr Nishata Royan A/P Rajendran Royan is a lecturer in the School of Engineering at the UOW Malaysia KDU University College, Glenmarie Campus. She is a manufacturing engineer who received her PhD in Mechanical and Materials Engineering from the Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia. She holds research expertise in natural fibre composites, rice-husk technology, polymer composite foams and nanocomposites, and is currently venturing into additive manufacturing research. Dr Nishata is a highly motivated and passionate academic, and we were very interested to know more about her and what inspires her! Here is what she shared with us:
How would you describe your cultural background?
I’m a Malaysian born Indian. I was born in a small town in Malacca state. My parents are also Malaysian born Indian. I have an elder brother and elder sister. I was born in an average economical earning income group where we grow up without any posh. Education was the only thing my parents focused on as it will be the lead to change and improve our life.
What motivated you to become an Engineer?
I love challenges. And I always like to do what others say is difficult. There was a saying that engineers are only for males which I didn’t agree on. I wanted to explore more and was happy to obtain the Bachelor’s engineering programme in a reputable public university. From there, my love towards engineering research cultivated more and now I’m a research-driven academician which aligns with my self-identity to keep challenging myself and exploring new advanced sustainable materials.
How do you balance personal and work life?
As a working mum of two demanding kids (7 and 3 years old) and at the same time being an early career researcher where I need to invest more time in my work… it’s definitely a struggle (haha). However, I’m trying my best to balance it. I’m a morning person so usually I would wake up early in the morning (before my kids are up) to settle some work… and I try not to juggle work and kids at the same time. Also, we try to make sure that weekends are family time. Fully with kids. And thank God, I have a wonderful and supportive husband who helps with daily chores and kids together with me.
Who are your role models?
My mother will always be my idol, my inspiration, and my strength! She is my iron super lady. Besides her, I do have role models or inspirations at every stage of life. During my school days, there was a Malay language teacher, Puan Foo. She was an awesome teacher. I wanted to become like her, especially in how she cares for her students. Then when I went to the varsity, there was Prof. Andanastuti, my material engineering module lecturer. She was great. I was astonished to see her lecture delivery, her research capability, and her appearance. She was the one who cultivated my interest in materials. She keeps inspiring me as she is a great researcher herself. And now in my working life, Prof. Hon Wei Min. The leadership qualities she has is superb. She gives full empowerment to her staff and supports them in any way she can. She inspires me to become a leader like her in the future. I’ve just realize it now that all my role models are women (hahaha)
What were the difficulties you have faced as a woman in engineering?
Since I’m in the academic and engineering research field, I didn’t face any major discrimination yet. My male colleagues are very helpful and supportive indeed