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Thriving in an unscripted world – by Cathy Sorbara

Clare Kerrison Improv Tutor“Don’t worry about being funny. Your ordinary is genius”

Improv tutor extraordinaire, Clare Kerrison was our special guest at this year’s winter networking event on December 9th, 2014 at the Lucy Cavendish College. In an evening filled with laughter and the occasional bell-ringing, Clare, hailing from New Zealand, empowered us to step out of our shell and enhance our communication skills using the theories of improvisational theatre. Here, performers are left on stage not knowing what will happen throughout the course of a given show. To survive and thrive, they follow one simple rule: “Yes, and …” where they learn to be present, actively listen and then contribute creatively. This rule fits exceptionally well into a workplace environment where one must learn adaptability.

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An evening with Ruth Barber: Negotiation skills workshop – by Shivi Chandna

Negotiation pic GSOn a cold wintry evening thirty women met at Cambridge AWISE headquarters to learn about negotiation skills and how its outcomes could make the difference between success and failure. The members had the opportunity to learn from the very experienced solicitor and consultant Ruth Barber. She had given a number of such workshops before to different types of audiences including undergraduates. Ruth decided to focus this session on practical tips on negotiating pay rises in the workplace.

Before starting a negotiation it is important to know what you want out of it. This want could be divided into a best possible outcome – knowing the best that you can get, the best realistic outcome – knowing what realistically you could get, and the worst realistic outcome. 
Ruth, keeping the STEM-related audience in mind, drew a graph to explain how she likes to think of these three outcomes as a tropical beach, a temperate zone and the arctic zone (brrr) where you are willing to settle for the least. Read more

CamAWiSE STEM Careers fair for girls at Netherhall School – by Emma Atkin

Postgraduate-student-in-laboratory1On 10th November 2014 members of AWiSE as well as women and men from different STEM subjects came together to give young female students an insight into their careers. The event was opened by the brilliant 2014 cover of Thomas Dolby’s 1982 hit ‘She Blinded Me With Science’ released in celebration of women in science, empowering them to reach their potential and highlighting the social challenges they face to accomplish success. However unconsciously, some young girls are pushed into believing certain subjects are ‘masculine’ or too challenging for them which has a damaging effect on those who could want to study them in the future. The evening aimed to demonstrate just how capable the girls were of going into any of the STEM subjects – providing them with inspiring female role models and an insight into what they have to offer for their future.

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CamAWiSE 20th Anniversary celebrations 2nd October 2014 – by Daisy Gooch,  PhD student and member of WISE@QMUL

“Last week Louise & I escaped our respective labs for an afternoon and hopped on the train to sunny Cambridge to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cambridge AWiSE. The Cambridge AWiSE network was set up in 1994 following the publication of ‘The Rising Tide’, a report published by the government on women in science, engineering and technology. This report documented the underrepresentation of women in STEMM fields- demonstrating that even where women predominate at undergraduate level, such as in the life sciences, they are lost at every career stage until they are a small minority. In 2004/5, only 11.5% of professors in life sciences were women, a figure which 10 years later has risen only to 15%. ‘The Rising Tide’ report noted the value of women’s networks and mutual support, and thus Cambridge AWiSE was founded to connect and inspire women in STEMM, which it has been doing ever since.

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CamAWiSE join Women of the World (WoW)

WOW Pin Art

Pin art at the WoW CamAWiSE stand

By Pauline Matthews, member of Cambridge AWiSE

The ‘Pick of the Day’ session was enthusiastically introduced by Natasha Wilson who introduced four women to talk about their experiences of the day and particularly to find out what women want for the International Women’s Day which will extend to a weekend in March 2015.

The first person to pass on her experiences of the day was Norah Al-Ani from Cambridge Rape Crisis. Norah said it had been an incredible day of celebration and challenging inequalities. The day had given her organisation the opportunity to talk to others, to get ‘money in the box’ and offers of volunteering. She was thrilled to have had her nails at the Nail Bar and eaten fantastic biscuits that were on sale especially for WOW attendees. When asked what she would like for the WOW event in March she said that she wanted ‘This again’.

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