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Meet the Steering Group – Nikita Hari

Nikita Hari Women in Science conference 2What is your current profession/background? 

I am currently pursuing my doctoral studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. I’m researching making systems called ‘Power Electronic Converters’ with novel devices called ‘GaN’ which can efficiently convert and conserve power and thereby help create a more sustainable future. I also tutor for first year Engineering undergraduates of Churchill College.

What point in your life led you to pursue a career in STEM?

Being in love with Physics and Mathematics being a good friend of mine, Engineering came as an obvious choice to me after my A levels. The intrigue, fascination and excitement to fathom the unexplained ‘electric shock’ I received as a kid motivated me to take up electrical engineering as my specialisation; starting off with an undergraduate degree, then moving on to do a masters and now pursuing a PhD in the same area.

What is one of your biggest aspirations?

My biggest aspiration and vision is to educate, inspire and help socially disadvantaged children around the globe, especially young girls to take up scientific studies and research thereby igniting their lives. Thus I’m passionate about making a positive contribution to society through technology and education.

What advice would you give to aspiring female scientists and engineers?

Your destiny is your decision! Do not allow the societal stereotypes to stop you from pursuing your passion. Let nothing stop you from doing what you love most. Let your wings of dreams fly high…!

How have you benefited from being a part of CAMAWiSE?

I joined CamAWiSE when I first met a friend Raheela who invited me to join and there was no looking back since then. Met some lovely people… learnt a lot… and at the end of the day it’s a space where I know, I’m not alone in this ‘women in engineering and science ‘journey……!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love day dreaming, spending time with near and dear ones, watching movies, documentaries, reading novels and music is my soul mate…! I enjoy giving talks at the Cambridge Science Festival, Girl conferences and STEM events to increase visibility of women in STEM and make our voices heard to inspire the future generation. I do consulting for an online tutoring initiative for Syrian kids founded by my friend and I also do social enterprise work as the conference director of Beyond Profit Cambridge.

Ask me about …

Power Electronics, Electrical Engineering, GaN, Women in STEM, Social Entrepreneurship, Music and Movies.

 

 

 

 

Meet the Steering Group – Cathy Sorbara

What is your current profession/background? 

I am currently a Publishing Editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry. I also work part-time as a Consultant/General Manager for the Cheeky Scientist Association, a company which helps academics find jobs in industry. I did my Masters in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa in Canada and my PhD in Medical Life Science and Technology at the Technical University of Munich, Germany.

What point in your life led you to pursue a career in STEM?

My father and brother were my role models for pursuing a STEM education. My father taught math and computer programming in high school and my brother was always passionate about math and computers. Growing up, when I had trouble with my math homework, my father and brother would be so excited to help me. I remember them rushing to get out a pen and paper and talk me through the problem. They are the two most brilliant people I know and their excitement for learning was infectious.

What is one of your biggest aspirations?

I am still fascinated with all aspects of science and would love to expand on this on a more ethical and political dimension by engaging more in policy and communication.

What advice would you give to aspiring female scientists and engineers?

Do not worry about titles or specific career paths. Rarely does someone’s career follow a straight path. Allow yourself to discover what is of interest to you and do not feel there is a time limit in which you need to have it all sorted out. Remember it’s the journey that’s important, not the end goal.

How have you benefited from being a part of CAMAWiSE?

I first joined CAMAWiSE when I moved to Cambridge one year ago from Germany and was unemployed. I was immediately struck by the way I was welcomed with open arms and how everyone offered to help with my job search. I went from not knowing anyone, to having a supportive network that encouraged me to thrive.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In the mornings before work you will find me at the gym at ungodly hours or running along the river. I love to cook and travel and have a long bucket list of places I would love to see. I take Italian language courses and periodically volunteer at the Cambridge Science Centre.

Ask me about …

Neuroscience, scientific editing, career transitioning and how to make home-made pasta.

 

How to solve a career dilemma in six minutes: the power of speed mentoring

Four women. Six minutes. One career dilemma. Three very different proposed solutions – and one action agreed on. It’s mentoring, but not as you know it.

Mentoring – regular support and guidance from a senior person in your field – is a hugely valuable experience. It’s widely recognised to be one of the key ways that people grow and develop in their careers. From being told the unwritten rules for promotions, to encouragement about taking on new challenges, mentoring has a lot to offer. But good mentors can be hard to find.

That’s where speed mentoring and peer mentoring come in. In speed mentoring, people tackle a career problem in 10 minutes or less. You’ll meet a range of people, set out your dilemma, and they’ll offer you a range of possible next steps. It’s like speed dating, but actually useful.

Peer mentoring involves working with someone at the same level of experience as you, rather than someone more senior. You’ll probably take turns to set out your goals and challenges, and you’ll learn as much by suggesting new possibilities as from hearing them.

And peer speed mentoring? It’s exactly what it sounds like – bringing together peers to discuss career goals and offer alternative viewpoints at speed.

Read more

Young female scientists and engineers inspire the next generation

Around 150 schoolgirls and their parents braved a stormy night to attend our STEM careers event at Netherhall School, Cambridge on the evening of November 9th. Their reward was to hear eight inspirational young women, working or studying in the sciences, IT and engineering, talk about their career paths to date. There were also information points around the room for each major discipline, where the girls and their parents could chat informally with the speakers and other volunteers after the talks were finished.

These were our speakers:

We found that many pupils were reassured by the fact that several speakers either hadn’t known quite what they wanted to do when they left school, or had changed direction at some point. Read more

Communication skills summary by Harriet Truscott

We’ve all been there – standing in front of a room packed with people, with something important to say. Whether it’s our research findings, a new business plan, or a keynote lecture, it matters that we get that message across.

Many of the members of AWISE are experienced speakers, particularly when it comes to presenting research or teaching. But there’s always room to develop our skills. In this workshop Dr Jane Goodall was there to take us to the next level.

As a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge, Jane was determined to be as good a speaker as she could be. She’s dedicated time and energy into becoming an effective speaker and workshop lead. Here’s some of her key tips:

  • Get your pace right. Both excitement and nerves can make us speak faster, particularly when we care about the subject. But speaking slowly makes it much easier for your audience to follow the argument. It also makes you sound more authoritative.
  • Pause for effect. If you want to emphasise a key point, pause for a moment before you say it, to signal to your audience that something important is coming up. If you’re showing information, give your audience time to absorb it.

Read more

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