Student-led careers event focuses on women in science

7 April 2017

An initiative by science students at the University of Birmingham brought scientists and students together for a Women in Science Forum focusing on careers on 1 March.

Student-led careers event focuses on women in science
GalliFilo Photography

The event, which attracted around 30 participants, was organised by the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) group at the university and led by IOP member Emma Willett, who is studying for a 4-year integrated master’s degree in physics there.

The group had already held two successful Women in Technology courses and thought it would be useful to have one focused on science, Willett said. She had heard Dr Abi Graham, a consultant at The Technology Partnership speaking at an IOP careers event and decided to invite her.

Student-led careers event focuses on women in science
GalliFilo Photography

Also speaking was Professor Zoe Pikramenou (pictured left), the first female professor in the chemistry department at the University of Birmingham, and Peggy Vazoura (pictured below left), a careers adviser at the university.

They were joined for a panel discussion by Aimee Goodall, a PhD student in the metallurgy and materials department at the university, and Veronica Wilson, from Ernst & Young (EY). 

As well as networking opportunities, there was a workshop by EY focusing on strengths, and one on confidence, run by Instron.

Some of the areas covered included managing your career, others’ expectations, juggling career and family life and what employers are looking for when they recruit.

Student-led careers event focuses on women in science
GalliFilo Photography

Willett said: “Overall our first Women in Science Forum was a big success. I think the highlight of the afternoon was the panel discussion, which gave the attendees the chance to ask anything they wanted of our speakers.

“Questions ranged from interview practices in technical firms to the use of positive discrimination in the workplace, and it was interesting to hear the different opinions formed from our speakers' varied experiences.

“The event wouldn't have been possible without the support of our speakers and sponsors, so we are very grateful to them, and we look forward to continuing to grow the event over the next few years.”