“Earlier I didn’t think about the issues between females and males in science. I see now that there’s so much that can stop a woman from getting a career compared to a man. With men you’re expected to do well and get the support, but for females, you have to sacrifice something in a different way from men, and I didn’t realize that earlier. I think it’s very important for other women to see that I have had success.” —May-Britt Moser: Nobel Prize–winning neurologist
The lack of women in science: it's not just a problem in the United States. On the Tibetan Plateau, the challenges for women going into scientific fields are in many ways even more formidable than in the West.
And this is a problem Lhamo Tsering knows well. A professor of chemistry at Qinghai Normal University, she is the only Tibetan woman who holds a PhD in her field. From a childhood in a nomadic family, herding cows, sheep, and horses in Haibei Prefecture, she went on to earn a master's in chemistry and chemical engineering from Northwest Normal University and, with Trace's support, a PhD in natural medicinal chemistry from the China Academy of Sciences.
When she graduated, she received numerous professional offers, but—like so many Trace fellows—she decided to return to Qinghai to train other young Tibetans in science, to return knowledge to where she could make an outsize impact: in her home community.
"Science is a very important subject," she told us. "But we have very few Tibetan science teachers. And though Tibetan medicines is a very rich and comprehensive tradition, it is difficult to develop under current conditions—without contemporary, knowledge, tools, and technology. Through Trace Foundation's support, I was able to earn my PhD and provide the best education possible to our students."
Lhamo Tsering may not have a Nobel Prize under her belt, but we know the impact she’s making and all the sacrifices she made along the way are just as important.
Each year, we support more than 500 individuals in every field—from business to teaching to chemistry—by covering the costs of tuition and living expenses. With your tremendous contributions, we've raised $28,049 for our project since December 2012 ($24,549 through GlobalGiving and another $3,500 through other donations). As of the current scholarship season, we offer a Professional Training Scholarship for Rural Science Teachers, a Graduate Scholarship for Women in Science, and three new graduate-degree international scholarships in environmental conservation. With your continued support, we know we can transform science education on the Tibetan Plateau from the ground up.
If you’ve ever used the Tibetan keyboard or the Microsoft Himalaya font in Windows, you’re one of the millions of users who can thank Tashi Tsering.
Hailing from a farming family in Gyalthang County in Diqing Prefecture, Tashi first worked on a computer in 1986 while he was studying an early computer language, Fortran 77, at Tsinghua University. This work changed the direction of his life forever.
He and his brothers and sisters didn’t have many toys growing up. Mostly, he says, “we just made toys out of earth and wood.” His first memory of technology? Going to his friend’s house to listen to the radio, though he didn’t own his own until high school.
After graduating from Tsinghua, Tashi Tsering received a scholarship from Trace in 2001 to study for a master’s degree in computer science at the University of Virginia.
“My time at UVA was a great experience. Although the work was hard, my family and I really enjoyed our time in Charlottesville. I learned a lot from the school. Without my studies, I wouldn’t have the career or success I do today. I was fully able to concentrate on my studies. I didn’t have to worry about tuition or my family.”
After graduation, we awarded Tashi another grant—this time to develop a Universal Tibetan Font Converter. Today, Tashi is working on developing more Tibetan fonts and another Tibetan keyboard. He plans to complete a project that includes the development of seventeen Tibetan fonts, two Tibetan keyboards, and a Tibetan spell- and grammar-check.
Each year, we support more than 500 individuals in every field—from business to teaching to computer science—by covering the costs of tuition and living expenses. With your tremendous contributions, we've raised $27,939 for our project since December 2012 ($24,439 through GlobalGiving and another $3,500 through other donations). With your continued support, we know we can transform not just education on the Tibetan Plateau from the ground up, but continue to pave the way for improved access to technology for Tibetans and Tibetan speakers around the world.
Anyone familiar with modern Tibetan history knows his name.
Tsering Shakya was among the first five students to receive scholarships from Trace to study internationally in 1996. With Trace Foundation’s support, he obtained a PhD in Tibetan Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London—the first step in being able to teach at a university. In 1999, he published the definitive history of modern Tibet, Dragon in the Land of Snows, and he is now the Canadian Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.
“I started my undergraduate in England and did my studies, and after that I went to work," he told us. "I couldn’t really get a scholarship to continue with my research so I was working in London local government. But in my heart I really wanted to do research. It was only much later that I had the opportunity and funding from Trace to go back to global and African Studies to continue my research. My scholarship from Trace allowed me to obtain my doctorate.”
We are proud to count Tsering Shakya among our very first scholarship recipients and to applaud him for the great work he’s done over the past fifteen years. We know he is just one of many success stories to come.
Each year, we support more than 500 individuals in every field—from business to teaching to history—by covering the costs of tuition and living expenses. With your tremendous contributions, we've raised $27,764 for our project since December 2012 ($24,264 through GlobalGiving and another $3,500 through other donations). With your continued support, we know we can transform not just education on the Tibetan Plateau from the ground up, but continue supporting historians and scholars like Tsering Shakya.