WHEN growing up she dreamt about one day sitting behind the wheels of the bigMack trucks that were a familiar sight along the Highlands Highway.
She wanted to be in control of the versatile and powerful beast on wheels that sent people by the road sides scampering with a blast of its blaring horns.
She was pretty much interested in the technical field at an early age and took to doing boy tasks without any problem in her childhood.
Enter Mollina Mecy Kapal, the effervescent and talented information and communications technology (ICT) engineer, who hails from Jiwaka. Mollina is employed by NICTA (National Information and Communications Technology Authority).
The 35-year-old single mother of two recently graduated with flying colours with a Master’s Degree in e-Policy and e-Government from the Sung Kyun Kwan University in Seoul, South Korea, under the Korean Government Scholarship (KOICA).
Mollina is the first Papua New Guinean to undertake the one-year master’s degree programme. She is probably the first female in PNG to be trained as an e-policy and e-government specialist.
She was dux of the class and was awarded the “Most Outstanding Student” award. The course participants were from 20 different developing countries from Africa, South East Asia, the Pacific and Arab. The demanding study programme focused on the new emerging theories of e-policy and e-government in today’s fast evolving technology driven global community.
“I was pretty much interested in the technical field at an early age; doing most of the boys’ tasks back then. My dad is a technical person and my mum is a teacher, so I grew up being influenced by my dad,” Mollina fondly recounted of her early childhood.
“My parents, John and Maggie Kapal, are my biggest role models.
“Their belief in me and their continual support in all areas of my life, particularly my education has gotten me this far.”
Mollina spent most of her teenage years with her guardian parents, Tom and Susan Pius, who she said had the greatest influence in her life.
“They identified my talent, encouraged and really pushed me to be where I am today.”
Mollina did her early schooling at Fatima Primary School and Notre Dame Secondary School in Western Highlands. She was a recipient of the AusAid scholarship and attended further secondary studies at the Catholic All Girls St Ursula’s College, in Yeppoon, Central Queensland, Australia.
She took up Electrical and Communications Engineering at the PNG University of Technology in Lae from 2001 to 2004 and graduated as one of the only two female students in the class of 15 in communication engineering.
She was recruited as a graduate engineer by PANGTEL, the predecessor of NICTA, straight after graduation and has worked her way up to her current position as principal engineer Broadcast Planning and Policy.
“It is a privilege to be employed with NICTA who strongly supports the empowerment of women in the workplace and continues to promote females in ICT in PNG through the annual International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Girls in ICT initiative.
“I hope to be an inspiration to young PNG females who wish to venture into ‘typical’ male careers. Nothing is impossible. The only person who can limit you is yourself. If you really want it, you can get it through determination, hard work, perseverance and commitment.”
As to what the future may hold for her, “I hope to see myself in a top management position in the near future. I believe the knowledge and skill I have learnt and gained will contribute to the development of our nation, particularly in e-Government,” Mollina said.
Well, there’s nothing stopping her now. And as they say the world is your oyster, Mollina Mecy Kapal.
- Story courtesy of NICTA Public Relations.