Meet Vinnie Lei Sam, an Australia Awards alumna from Samoa who graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) Honours from the University of Sydney. At 25 years old, Vinnie is making her mark in the engineering field and inspiring young women to pursue STEM careers.
She currently works at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) in the Land Transport Division – a division made up of all women.
Vinnie acknowledges the challenges that women in STEM fields face, such as being viewed as less technically competent than their male colleagues. “Women in STEM face unconscious biases that influence their upward career trajectory or leadership opportunities,” she says. However, Vinnie is grateful to have supportive colleagues and mentors who encourage her to work hard and strive for success regardless of gender.
Vinnie encourages all young girls in Samoa to pursue engineering or any STEM program as a career path. “You’ll have the opportunity to make a difference and change the world in ways that only you can imagine.”
Vinnie’s inspiration comes from the strong women in her life, including her mother and three sisters, who have all pursued degrees in engineering and business. She is also inspired by her manager, colleagues, and other strong women she has encountered throughout her life.