Introducing: Thirisha Dhavraj

Can you briefly explain your background?

I am from Durban, South Africa, and I studied chemical engineering at university. I started working for a third-party laboratory called Q&Q Control Services as a lab technician in March 1998, which was the start of my career. I later worked for other companies in South Africa. My work experience over the years has been extensive and varied, and includes lab analysis, quality control, ISO 17025, internal quality auditing, project management, retail site sampling, HSSE, etc. The sum total of these experiences has made me who I am today: a laboratory manager for BV Fujairah in United Arab Emirates.

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. What would you say to your younger self about embracing a career in science?

I always enjoyed science, particularly physics and chemistry, and had my mind set on a career in the field from an early age. I especially enjoyed the science projects and experiments I participated in during school. I’m glad I pursued a career in science – in a household full of teachers, doctors and lawyers, it was something outside the box!

To my younger self, I would say: be very grateful to your parents. They were very open-minded and always encouraged my siblings and I to pursue our interests in whatever sector we chose.

Developing a passion for any career requires awareness that the opportunity exists. Events like “International Day of Women and Girls in Science” help create this awareness and spark interest. This is a great initiative, and I hope we continue to encourage women and girls to be excited about science!

My team at the BV Fujairah lab includes two female chemists. They’re given the same opportunities to train and develop their skills as their male colleagues, and they’ve enthusiastically embraced their roles. I’ll always do my best to contribute to this initiative.

Describe us a typical day for you at BV.

Our lab operates 24/7/365, and we need to be available to support the team at any given time – which means it can be challenging to predict work hours! You’ll often find me meeting with shift leaders and team members regarding workload, priorities, planning, etc.

What experiences were you hoping to have at BV? Why did you choose BV?

I joined BV Fujairah in January 2017. While I was satisfied with all my professional and personal achievements, I wanted to experience a work culture outside of South Africa. I’m currently enjoying the new challenges, diversity and growth that this experience brings.