Yvonne Anderson, 3rd year chemistry student at the University of Edinburgh, was awarded with the Interconnect Student Award 2018 at our annual conference on 6th March. Here she talks about her experience attending the conference and the public engagement activities she is involved in at her university.
Attending the Interconnect Student conference was a chance for me to meet some inspiring women in STEM from a wide variety of subject backgrounds. It also allowed me to build on my network by introducing me to people from different companies, some of which I would not have considered a role in beforehand. Having never worked with Equate until this event, I was not sure what to expect. However, I was far from disappointed with the new learning and experiences the conference offered me.
Over the course of the day, I was able to participate in several workshops run by the Equate team – all of which I found extremely engaging and rewarding. Not only did I have the welcome opportunity to ‘develop my industry knowledge’ with the help of women working at Balfour Beatty, I also learned how to ‘make the most of an internship’ and gathered more information about the Careerwise placements on offer.
With insights from Dell EMC, FDM group, Balfour Beatty and Sky, those in attendance were invited to learn more about these companies and particularly focus on the role they play in the constant battle against gender inequality in the STEM industry today.
The keynote speaker was Ceri Shaw, development manager at Sky, who talked about her career journey and how she worked her way up to her current position. Ceri highlighted the fact that altering your career path in order to go after something you are passionate about is never something to shy away from, as this leap of faith will pay off in the long run. She also stressed that the key to happiness and contentment at work is to be constantly learning.
I became a chemistry representative for the Edinburgh University Women in STEM society because I wanted to use my own experiences to encourage future STEM students to achieve their full potential. I believe this goal is perfectly embodied by the work of the society and networks such as Interconnect. While I feel accomplished in my role within Women in STEM, I still consider myself relatively new to working with the society so I was initially surprised but incredibly proud to receive the interconnect student award for this year.
Promoting public engagement in science is something I think is very important. I have recently been exploring different ways to work with the school of chemistry outreach and public engagement to plan events together surrounding women in STEM and science outreach. We are currently arranging a Celebration of Women in Chemistry event which I hope is something we can embed in the school calendar and involve as many people as possible.
Building our networks and developing lasting connections and friendships is something that is very important in any career, making events such as this student conference truly invaluable.
The Edinburgh University Women in STEM Society is part of the Interconnect Student Network. If you are studying STEM at the University of Edinburgh and want to get involved in the society click here.