Papua New Guinean Female Aeronautical Engineer, Diandra Paine has always been fascinated with airplanes, especially jet fighters. This is why she followed her dream to study in the field of Aeronautical Engineering at the Shenyang Aerospace University International Education College in China.
But her journey did not begin there. Prior to studying in China, Diandra was caught in the middle of a major school strike at Lae’s University of Technology (Unitech) in 2016 where she enrolled to study Electrical and Communications Engineering. This event propelled her family to seek an alternate place for study, and China became the option.
Diandra spent her primary school years at Korobosea International School in Port Moresby, and then went on to do High School at Hillcrest in Hamilton, New Zealand. She then returned to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to complete Grades 11 and 12 at the Port Moresby International School (POMIS).
One of her highlights whilst attending POMIS was taking part in the annual debating competitions against other senior high schools in PNG in 2014. Diandra and her team from POMIS would later go on to win the national title for the first time, guaranteeing a spot to represent PNG in the Melanesian Debating Competition against teams from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It was during that time, Diandra was chosen to be coach for the PNG team who became the debating champions for Melanesia that year.
Young Diandra isn’t new to representing her beloved country. A true patriot from the Oro Province, Diandra holds great respect for her culture and heritage and loves being able to represent wherever she goes. Whenever there’s an opportunity to attend a cultural event, Diandra is sure to turn up proudly dressed in her Tapa or PNG outfit.
During the 2015 Pacific Games Opening Ceremony, Diandra presented the opening script and read the PNG National Pledge in front of thousands in the audience and viewers worldwide.
In mid-2016, Diandra pursued her interest in modelling which took her to the stage of the prestigious Miss PNG Pacific Islands Pageant (MPIP PNG) Project Runway in Port Moresby and once again during her summer break in 2017 on the same runway.
China & Covid-19
During her four years of study in the world’s most populous country, the People’s Republic of China, Diandra recalls the most challenging time was towards the end of her studies; the final seven months. This was when the deadly Covid-19 pandemic emerged, taking the country and eventually the whole world into lock-down and everything came to a standstill.
While her friends were leaving and returning home to their countries, Diandra made one of the toughest decisions of her life to remain in China to complete her Aeronautical Engineering course.
Diandra was among 40 graduating students who decided to remain on campus to brave the pandemic, and have the opportunity to walk on stage to receive her Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Shenyang Aerospace University International Education College in July, 2020. Not only that, her Thesis ‘Research Defense’ was recognised as one of the best work ever produced and was displayed on the school’s official WeChat social platform.
The College celebrated its 20th Anniversary this year right after the graduation ceremony and Diandra was chosen to host the show, as well as join her fellow Papua New Guineans to perform a traditional dance, showcasing PNG culture to the delight of the international audience at the College and around the world.
Diandra had initial plans to pursue her career overseas but has since been restricted due to Covid-19 and the closure of borders. Upon her return home to Port Moresby in September this year, Diandra with the help of one of her Aunties, is now running an Online Women’s Clothing Business called ‘The Pineapple Boutique’. Check out The Pineapple Boutique on Facebook and Instagram.
In Diandra’s words, you must;
In what is generally perceived as a male dominated profession, even more so in PNG, Diandra is another fine example of a young Papua New Guinea woman, confidently stepping out and venturing beyond PNG to forge her own career pathway in aeronautical engineering.
Diandra has this message particularly for Girls who want to pursue their studies in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics);
Diandra’s future is very bright, and so is the future of many young PNG women who will no doubt be inspired by her story, and like Diandra, set out to journey into a world that is full of endless possibilities.
Photos Credit: Diandra Paine
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