What is PENTA?

PENTA is She Speaks Science’s 5-month mentorship programme, with a twist. It is designed as a 5 by 5 matrix: it has 5 different streams (Africa, Latin America, Middle East, US & Europe, Asia). Within each stream there are 5 tiers (Executive, Professional, University student, High schooler, Schooler).

The programme aims to build a tightly knit community of 33 empowered women and girls by providing them guidance and support at various stages of their STEM journey. PENTA also has a unique two-way mentorship model. Each member mentors and gets mentored in an interactive and one-to-one environment.


… because we believe in the power of community. Our two-way mentorship model encourages conversations between different age groups, fosters the concept of taking and giving back, and enhances the idea that whoever she is, someone is looking up to her. This, we hope, would give every participant on PENTA a sense of agency as well as responsibility towards her broader community. PENTA also allows its members to expand their networks and share their experiences.

The first PENTA crew launched on 11 Feb, International Day of Women & Girls in Science. 33 phenomenal women and girls from all career stages embarked on a journey through which they mentored and got mentored, and shared their experiences, aspirations and motivations. The 2021 crew hails from 24 different countries, from Malaysia to Mexico.

“I have just gotten this confidence, I’m a lot more confident because of PENTA. I’m not sitting back anymore because I’m a young female, but instead I’m saying I can and should do this and my ideas are good enough.”
Jamy-Lee Bam, Data Scientist, Cape Town.

“I believed that I was the only one facing numerous challenges as I progressed in my career, but PENTA helped me realise that every successful woman has faced the same during their life, and these obstacles only help us grow. I now totally resonate with a quote mentioned in one of the meetings that, ” Success is not final and failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts..”
Paarmita Pandey, Physics Masters student, India.

“PENTA will be an unforgettable journey for me. I’ve met so many wonderful and inspiring women who have taught me so much about both life and careers.”
Nesibe Feyza Dogan, Highschool student, Netherlands.

Meet the 2021 PENTA Crew

Impact Report

PENTA 2021 impact report is now out and available! It shows the success and remarkable impact PENTA had on the career advancement and confidence of participating women and girls. Check it out to learn more about the programme, our findings, and how PENTA is paving the way for women to become leaders in their field.

Read Impact Report

Who is PENTA for?

Are you a professional working in academia or industry? Are you a university, high school, or school student? If your answer is yes to any of these, then PENTA is for you! If you’re not sure, just get in touch with us at info@shespeaksscience.com.

Why should I apply?

Apply to PENTA to inspire and be inspired, to motivate and be motivated. On PENTA you will be able to ask the questions you have in mind about STEM careers, life of a scientist, success tips and how you can make a difference in your own way. You will also have the chance to answer the questions of your mentee, who looks up to you as role model and is trying to find her own way. Being part of PENTA allows you to make a difference and start a cascade of change.

Tier 1 mentors

We are honoured to have these phenomenal STEM professionals as mentors on PENTA 2021:

  • Prof Fatima Abu Salem – Lebanon – Associate Professor of Computer Science at the American University of Beirut
  • Dr Belinda Wilkes – UK – Senior Astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and former director of the Chandra X-ray Center.
  • Peju Adebajo – Nigeria – Engineer and CEO of Lumos Nigeria
  • Prof Thais Russomano – Brazil – Doctor, researcher and entrepreneur specialising in space medicine, space physiology, biomedical engineering and telemedicine.
  • Dr. Anita Krishnamurthi – India/UK – astronomer and experienced leader in STEM Education & Informal Learning.



What to expect

PENTA runs for 5 months. You are expected to attend the crew monthly meeting, and meet your mentee and your mentor each at least once a month.

We will provide general guidance and guidelines on meeting discussions but ultimately these discussions are shaped by you!

Questions you may want to ask your mentor include, for example, decisions about education or career, difficulties faced, tips on how to succeed in a STEM career etc..

With your mentee, you would serve as a role model and perhaps share your experiences, activities you have been involved in, books you have read and enjoyed, and share with them your own role models and why you look up to them. They may also want to discuss their future education or career path. You might perhaps consider sharing advice or connecting them to others who can help.

During the monthly event you will meet the entire crew: women from across the world at different career stages. Our ‘Tier 1 mentors’ who are leaders in STEM fields from across the world will give a keynote lecture on topics such as leadership, dealing with self doubt, career options and planning your future. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics that matter to you.

All meetings and events take place online.


How do I apply?

Applications for the second PENTA crew will open in 2023!

Would you like to be part of this awesome journey and experience comradeship, growth and inspiration?

Be the first to know when PENTA applications open again by signing up to our newsletter and following us on social media! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions you can email us at info@shespeaksscience.com.