Attending her first SING Aotearoa conference was transformational for Jordon Lima.
Jordon was studying biomedical sciences at the University of Otago when lecturer and SING Faculty member Dr Phil Wilcox (Ngāti Rakaipaaka, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa) encouraged her to attend the 2020 SING conference; an inaugural forum that brought together SING consortia from the US, Canada, and Australia.
Jordon also attended the SING Aotearoa workshop in 2021. "All throughout my studies, I have contemplated how my cultural identity fits into my science. At SING, I was surrounded by fellow Indigenous researchers and students who shared their cultural practises and experiences and had all contemplated the same thing throughout their respective studies," Jordon recalled.
SING helps reduce the isolation felt by Indigenous scientists
“Indigenous scientists often feel isolated within our institutions around the world, but SING provides a safe environment for us to connect over these shared experiences and to support one another."
"Both SING workshops were amazing. The guest speakers, who are experts in their respective fields, shared their knowledge and experience with attendees on how best to incorporate Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview) into our research practices."
"Most importantly, close interactions with these experts and our peers validates and builds a sense of confidence that is key for embracing our indigeneity in science. It’s been great."
SING inspires Jordon to mentor others
"Thanks to SING Aotearoa, I am now encouraged to further develop my understandings of how Te Ao Māori can be incorporated into my research. I am also more involved in providing mentorship for other young Māori looking to pursue careers in genetics, as I was provided mentorship through SING. And I have made long-lasting connections through this programme; I hope together we can help to shape the space for cultural identity in science in New Zealand for the future."
Jordon is working on her PhD in the Centre for Translational Cancer Research at the University of Otago, under the direction of Professor Parry Guilford and Associate Professor Karyn Paringatai. The Centre takes a genetic approach to improving the survival and quality of life of cancer patients with new and more effective options for diagnosis and treatment.