Student Champions

Equate Student Champions are ambassadors for the network within their college or university, they are recruited by their university or college and are currently studying a STEM subject. All the student champions are supported by Equate Scotland and given skills and training to help them in their role.

The role of a student champion involves contributing new ideas and giving feedback for the development of Equate Student Network, engaging students at their university or college in the network, organising women in STEM activities on campus and working with their university or college to influence women into STEM initiatives or projects.

If you are interested in attending an event or getting involved in your local Equate Student Group please contact your Student Champion.

The 2020/21 Equate Student Network Champions were:

Shannon McGrath

University of Dundee

I am a final year mechanical engineering student who has taken every opportunity given to me during my university career. From sitting on society and sports committees, to attending organised university events, I’m always looking to broaden my horizons and take on a new challenge. In taking on this exciting new role, I hope to meet many other enthusiastic students as well as inspire the younger generation to study STEM subjects in the future.

Eszter Somjai

University of Dundee

As a kid, I have always looked up to women in science – although they appeared to be intimidatingly smart and mysterious creatures. Ten years later, I am delighted to be one of them and I aim to show that in contrary to the popular belief we are an approachable and welcoming bunch – without the mystery!

University of St Andrews

Alexandra Chapman

My name is Alexandra Chapman, and I’m a 3rd year undergraduate at the University of St Andrews studying for a BSc in Cell Biology. I’m very excited to work with EQUATE, and in my time as the Student Champion at St Andrews I hope to initiate conversations about the gender gap in scientific industries, while providing opportunities for women to build their confidence about their futures in STEM.

Pilar Duque

University of Dundee

My name is Pilar Duque and I am a 4th year Mathematics student. Studying maths has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made, not only because I love them, but because it has showed me that science has no gender and the only thing that one needs to achieve a career in science is to be passionate enough.

As an active feminist, one of my main goals is to be part of the change; that is why I think being a Student Champion will help me not only to improve the experience of STEM women on campus, but also to guide me to achieve this goal.

University of Dundee

Rebecca Mitchell 

Hi! – my name is Rebecca and I’m a 4th year student studying for my MEng in Civil Engineering at the University of Dundee. I am so excited to be working with EQUATE and my fellow student champions to engage in diverse and interesting discussions while promoting gender equality within our subjects. Choosing to study civil engineering at university meant that I found myself in an environment where the difficulties which prevent so many women from both entering and remaining within the field became apparent.  I have, however, been exceptionally lucky to find myself among four other passionate and driven aspiring female engineers within my course and I hope that within my role I can help the smart, strong women of STEM feel supported and empowered throughout their degree.

University of Dundee

Skye Kirwan

Hi I’m Skye! I am a third year Computing student, re-founder and President of the Women in STEM society. I want to empower the female students studying STEM here at Dundee by promoting opportunities, celebrating successes and building a fun, supportive community. I am excited to achieve this alongside the other champions and my committee. I thoroughly enjoyed being a champion while in college and am delighted to be working with Equate again.

Sarah Horgan

Edinburgh Napier University 

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a first year toxicology PhD student. Previously, I did a traineeship at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon and worked as a Regulatory Consultant in Edinburgh. I wanted to be a scientist from a very early age and now that I can call myself one- I feel very passionately about ensuring there is equality within the sector.

Heriot Watt University

Victoria Neill

I’m a penultimate year undergraduate studying a masters in Chemical Engineering. I was lucky to have a STEM role model growing up, my dad (an engineer) always taught me to pursue my ambitions by not letting self-doubt inhibit my dreams. He passed away in 2018 but I want to carry on sharing his legacy with others. Unfortunately, many young people do not have someone who can open their eyes to the opportunities in science and technology, therefore curiosity and talent are being disregarded and undiscovered. With Equate I hope to encourage the embracement of STEM from early years and build the confidence of my female peers so that they can become role models to the future. generation.

Martina Bali

Robert Gordon University

Hi! My name is Martina Bali, I am currently pursuing a degree in Electronic and Electrical engineering at Robert Gordon University. I love my course, even though I sometimes struggled being the only girl in my class during the first few years, it inspired me to lead other women, alongside showing how interesting and valuable engineering could be in today’s world! This year, I was thrilled to co-found  ‘RGU Women in STEM’, a community that supports girls and inspire younger women who share the same passion for science, technology and all other STEM related subjects. Reading about Equate enlightened me to stand up for gender equality and encourage women to speak up as loud as men even if present in a minority. I am so pleased to be part of Equate as a Student Champion and hope to spread my spark along the way !

Emily Mason

Heriot Watt University

Hi, I’m Emily.

I’m currently in my fourth year studying for a Master’s in Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University. I recently got involved with Athena Swan at my university, after one of my female lecturers supported me to complete a research project as a scholar in summer 2018. Since then I have visited primary schools spreading STEM awareness and recently founded Watt Women in STEM at Heriot Watt in September 2019. We have put on events including career workshops, socials and event had some exclusive videoing at the university! At Heriot-Watt there is a contrast in the number of females in STEM; so, it was a natural decision to become an Equate Student Champion and I hope to continue inspiring women and girls to study STEM subjects.

Nika Teran

University of Edinburgh

Hi! My name is Nika and I am a first year Chemistry student at the University of Edinburgh. I have never wanted to listen to suggestions that I might not be able to accomplish something especially if it was because I am a girl. When I see a woman being recognised for something she accomplished it makes me proud to be one. As I am starting to get involved in the world of STEM, which I am very excited about, I want to make sure that that world is as accessible to women as it is to men. I hope someday women will have the courage to speak just as loud, be proud of their success and not be ashamed of their mistakes. One day I would like to be someone who inspires others and I am sure my involvement with Equate Scotland is the best possible starting point.

Emma Gunn

North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands

Hiya, my name is Emma Gunn and I am a Mechanical Engineering student at the North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands. I completed my Mechanical Design Modern Apprenticeship with Nuvia Ltd in Summer 2019. I am now doing my degree full time whilst working full time for Nuvia. Throughout the year I attend numerous STEM events, trying to encourage others to pursue a STEM career path. These events are so important, it is such an effective method to show students first hand that STEM subjects are for both men and woman equally. I really look forward to working with EQUATE to take this one step further. ”

Bibi Aldrick

Moray College, UHI

Hi my name is Bibi Aldrick. I am an Applied Science degree student at Moray College UHI currently in my 2nd year. Before this amazing opportunity to work with equate opened up I had never even heard of STEM before. I would love to spread the word so others who have also not heard, can get involved and we can balance the scales of equality within STEM.

Kirstie Miller

Perth College

Hi, my name is Kirstie and I am in my third year of BSc Computing. My favourite aspect of the course is databases, but I love programming too! I am one of very few women on my course, and I would like to be involved in encouraging more women to pursue careers in STEM.

When not studying, I enjoy group cycling classes at my campus, and I am a qualified nail technician.

Bryony Beck

Lews Castle College

My name is Bryony Beck and I am studying a masters in Rural Sustainable Development. Previous to this, I studied Geography at undergrad level. Gender equality is one of the Sustainable development goals for 2030 so I am very interested in working with Equate to recognise women in science roles and working towards this goal. I am currently an associate trainer with Sparqs, training class reps across Scotland, I was a class rep for three years while studying Geography.

Chloe Rodgers

An Lochran, University of the Highlands & Islands

My name is Chloe Rodgers and I am a third year PhD student at the University of the Highlands & Islands. My research is focussed on the role of the immune response to melanoma. I enjoy working in the laboratory and love the creativity involved in doing research, all the more helped by being in the prettiness of the Highlands. I am looking forward to working with EQUATE Scotland to learn about the barriers women may come across when pursuing a STEM career, but also to celebrate all the great things women do in STEM already. Girl Power!

Ruth Carey

SAMS, University of the Highlands and Islands

Hi there! I am Ruth Carey; I am a third-year student studying Marine Science at SAMS! a campus in Oban which is joined to the University of the Highlands and Islands. I absolutely love my degree and love that I’m not doing just one science but instead I’m learning about Chemistry, biology, physics, geology, statistics and even a bit of social science! I am so excited to work with EQUATE and hope to help women within the STEM community.

Leia Christine

West Lothian College

My name is Leia Christine, I am a student at West Lothian College and I study cyber security. This is my second year studying at West Lothian, before cyber security I done a foundation apprenticeship for computer software. If you can’t tell by now I am a fanatic when it comes to computing, I love the subject. And I seem to be quite good at it which is always a plus, I struggled with being the only female in my course and I hope that by being a student champion I can help support and encourage young woman to take the jump into computing, and other STEM subjects. Outside of school I am pretty much never in the house, I wouldn’t call myself a social butterfly but I enjoy going out and being with friends, and I may or may not play way too many video games

Ramona Petrig

Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), UHI

Hi, my name is Ramona and I am a 2nd year undergraduate student of Marine Science. With a background in Psychology from a landlocked country, studying at SAMS now enables me to pursue my love for the ocean. As a former snowboard athlete, I have always circulated in a male-dominated environment. It is important to me to overcome gender bias and encourage women (and men) to chase their dreams. Initially, I engaged as a voluntary coach on female snowboard and skateboard workshops. Now, being active in science education, I am very excited to be part of the Equate programme to support and inspire each other to pursue our passions in STEM.

University of Dundee
Lara Ranade
I am a third-year biomedical engineering student. I have always loved physics, maths and biology so being able to pursue a career in a field that combines all three is a dream come true.

During high school, I was only one of a handful of girls invited to go to a Women in STEM day held by the University of Newcastle. I still have vivid memories of that day and how inspiring all the woman ambassadors were. It was thanks to this event that I discovered that engineering was a path I would be able to go down. I hope that one day I will be able to be one of those women who can encourage other women that engineering is a viable option for them.

I’m excited to have this opportunity and to support women who want to follow their dream without feeling like they need to fit a certain stereotype or feel inferior to their male counterparts.

Institutions and Equate Scotland are in the process of recruiting 2021/22 champions. Get in touch at  if you are a staff member or student interested in the Equate Student Network.