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International Day of Women And Girls IN science: FMS EDI Interns

This year for International Day of Women and Girls in Science, our two EDI interns Abbie and Jasmin have written a bit about what #IDWGIS means to them!

Abbie Lightfoot

What does being a woman in science mean to you?

Being a STEM student, and working within FMS, means I’ve had the opportunity to meet numerous influential and inspiring female scientists. These women have had a marked impact on my passion for science, as witnessing these female role models excel in their work provides hope for me, and all young women studying science, that one day we too may become successful in our respective fields. Traditionally a male-dominated field, the sciences feel more accessible to women now than they ever have before!

What inspired you to study the sciences?

My inspiration to study the sciences came, primarily, from the female science teachers I’ve had the pleasure to be taught by throughout my education. These women instilled a confidence in me, and I’m sure many others, that anyone can achieve in the sciences if they work hard! I recall these teachers juggling caring responsibilities, illness, and bereavements while still managing to provide us with engaging, interesting, and worthwhile science lessons!

I’ve also always been inspired by famous female scientists, particularly those from history who managed succeed in a world in which the odds were against them purely due to their gender. Take, for example, Grace Harwood Stewart, the first woman to attend the Newcastle University Medical School!

What are your aspirations for your future in science?

Although I haven’t completely nailed down my career plans yet, I am certain that I want to remain in science. My BSc is in Pharmacology, and following this I hope to remain at the university to study a MSc, although I’m yet to decide which subject field! I have, additionally, considered a career in teaching. The impressive female teachers of my past have motivated me to use my love of the sciences to inspire future generations. Being able to implore a love of science into young people would be an excellent use of my skills, and something which I know I would find extremely rewarding! Despite all of this, I’m still not sure, so watch this space!

Jasmin Hudson

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What does being a woman in science mean to you?

Studying a subject which is constantly up for debate by people on whether is fits into the ‘STEM’ criteria almost made me more passionate about my degree and proving women can influence the more ‘typical’ science fields from within psychology! I have been taught by so many inspiring women who have discovered very influential things in their research and as a result has allowed me to feel represented and focus on my own aspirations without doubting myself. I think seeing these women lecture in a professional field which is very male-dominated shows just how capable we all are of achieving what we want to achieve!

What inspired you to study the sciences?

My inspirations to study science came from women throughout history who made a difference. I was always very interested in Psychology but I specifically remember studying Psychology at A-Level and every study we learned about seemed to have been conducted by a man. That was until I learned about the Loftus and Palmer (1974) study! Finding out that a woman was involved in carrying out one of the most influential pieces of research in forensic psychology was such a relief and re-engaged me in something I was so passionate about. This led me to go on to find out about all of the amazing women involved in psychology throughout history like Mary Ainsworth and Mary Whiton Calkins who have almost been erased from textbooks! I think this just goes to show how important role-models can be to young girls and women who want to enter the sciences!

What are your aspirations for your future in science?

Although I am not 100% sure what my goals are yet for my future, I know that I want to remain within the field of Psychology and hope to go on to do my masters degree in clinical psychology in 2024!

But on a broader scale, one of my main goals for the future is to show the influence of other women within psychology to those hoping to enter the field. I think the impact of this has been especially obvious to myself as the average university cohort for psychology is now mostly female, but despite this, there is almost no representation of these women in the wider professional fields! I think everyone should aspire to engage and inspire young women and girls to enter the scientific fields they are passionate about without fear of being underrepresented as we have so much to offer!

Find out more about International Day of Women and Girls in Science.