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).

As such, it 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 2021 cohort hails from 24 different countries, from Malaysia to Mexico.

Title of the document Meet the 2021 PENTA Crew

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:

  • 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 from February 11th till July 11th, 2021. You are expected to meet your mentee and your mentor each at least once a month. You are also expected to attend one event for the whole cohort 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 cohort: 25 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 them questions and discuss topics with them.

    All meetings and events will take place online.


    How do I apply?

    Applications have now closed and the cohort is selected!

    We received more than 260 applications from all over the world, from the Philippines, through South Africa to Chile! Applicants from all career stages shared their experiences, aspirations and motivations. It was a privilege to read through their applications, and a painful decision having to choose only a select few.

    PENTA launched on 11 Feb, International Day of Women & Girls in Science. 33 phenomenal women and girls from 23 countries embarked on a mission as one crew, on a journey through which they’ will mentor and be mentored as a tightly knit community of STEM stars.

    Meanwhile, you can stay in touch by signing up to our newsletter and following us on social media to learn about our latest news and offers! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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