PhD scholarship holder Gladys Mosomtai, 30, is a woman with a mission.

Not only does she want to excel as a researcher in her field of Geospatial Information and Environmental Science where she currently investigates how the character of a landscape and farmers’ practises impact coffee pests that small-scale farmers suffer from. Gladys Mosomtai believes it needs more female role models to encourage girls to venture beyond the tasks society limits them to, and to explore their creativity and follow their curiosity without any judgements.

When she was a child, she says, there were no female role models. So she decided to become one herself. “I grew up playing all kind of games with my brothers and cousins; I climbed trees, jumped from high cliffs and still did house chores. When I look back now, this borderless mind set that I grew up with made it easy for me to love science,” she remembered in a newspaper interview.

Gladys is pursuing her PhD studies with a DAAD scholarship at ICIPE and the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. She is in her second year.