Award winning Career Pathways event hosted at the IOP

31 July 2019

On Tuesday 18 June 2019, the Oxford University Women in Materials Science (WiMS) group, in collaboration with the Institute of Physics (IOP), ran their annual Career Pathways workshop; an event designed to provide insight into the career opportunities available to, and possible career challenges faced by, those who identify as women working in science.

Award winning career pathways

Now in its third year, the event was sponsored by the London and South East branch, co-organised by Mark Telling (vice president (membership)) and hosted at the new IOP central office in King’s Cross, London.

The event has since been awarded a 2019 University of Oxford Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences division, Equality and Diversity Award in the Best Initiative category.

The Oxford University Women in Materials Science group was set up to provide a forum in which women working in science can share concerns, garner feedback and address problems. It also has the remit of working closely with the Materials Department to consider gender balance issues. Via informal lunchtime socials it was noted that the progression of, and difficulties faced by, women in science is largely under-reported. In addition, it was felt that insufficient information is available, in particular to undergraduates and PhD students, about those science sector career paths that are not wholly academic.

To address such concerns, the Career Pathways initiative was born and designed to provide a platform on which female professionals, who have used a science degree to underpin their careers, could highlight their employment experiences to date and tender advice. All speakers were established specialists in their chosen field and represented a diverse range of disciplines; from science policy and academia to innovation and engineering.

Co-organiser, Mark Telling, said "We are extremely proud to have partnered with the OU WiMS team again and this year have been recognised by the University of Oxford, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences division. The WiMS team, in particular Shazeaa Ishmael, Eleanor Shaw and colleagues, have grown this event from the pilot in 2017 to today's award winning initiative. Career Pathways really does provide a unique opportunity to network, ask probing questions, and fully engage with established professionals in a supportive environment."

The organisers are grateful to all speakers for contributing to the success of this project and whose frank, personal anecdotes regarding both good and bad career choices proved invaluable. Speakers included Deborah Phelps (Rolls Royce Safety Engineer), Jessica Middlemiss (quality manager, Dyson) Anna Ploszajski (UCL), Oliva Keenan (outreach director, SEPnet), Rachel Won (editor for Nature Photonics) Shannon Nicely (Oxford JRF), Clara Barker (Oxford) and Milica Stevic (London College of Fashion).

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