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:
- Anna Davanzo, Design Engineer, Marshall Aerospace
- Felicity Dear, recent graduate in Materials Science
- Kathy Hadfield, ARM
- Aurelia Hibbert, engineering undergraduate and Programme Director of Cambridge University Eco Racing
- Fiona Nielsen, CEO at Repositive
- Katie Sarll, Horticultural Facility Assistant, Cambridge University Botanic Garden
- Cara Walters, Scientific Officer, Cancer Research UK
- Kirstie Whitaker, post-doc at Cambridge University Department of Psychiatry
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
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.
Held at Schlumberger’s Gould Research Center, a suitable venue as the backdrop, that brought together the Institute of Physics, CamAWiSE, and Schlumberger to play host to Dr Sarah Bohndiek. Dr Bohndiek, whose research cross-cuts both physical and biological sciences, introduced her comprehensive, rigorous and exciting research in the techniques to detect and understand cancerous cell growth. The research into novel cancer discovery methods is used by Sarah for developing new detection devices as well as augmenting existing ones.
Cancer is a disease of cells. Most cells in the body are able to divide to produce more copies of themselves, but they have a tightly controlled Stop-Go signalling mechanism, which restricts growth to on-a-need basis. Dr Bohndiek gave the example of how a wound requires cell growth for repair, with an essential stop signal when fully healed. When this stop signal is faulty, the number of cells will continue to increase, ballooning out of control into what is termed as a tumour.
Sarah covered four areas of her research:
- Molecular Imaging
- the importance of O2 in cancer, and its detection
- Optoacoustic Imaging
- improving cancer staging with blood vessel maps
- Hyperspectral Imaging
- improving early cancer detection with molecular endoscopy
- Future Challenges
- prospectives on clinical translation
In the third part of the WiSE UP 2015 series, Nina Cooke, a confidence coach, presented an interesting workshop on discovering how to feel confident and valued to be able to thrive in our everyday lives.
We started by closing our eyes and reflecting on uncomfortable questions, to name but a few; how many times we find ourselves going into timid mode or we believe others are better than us. Looking around, most people openly admitted to feeling like that at some point in their lives.
Being confident doesn’t have to be stressful or scary. All it needs is practice and conviction. And realising the limitations of that lack of confidence is part of the process. If a person feels safer being invisible rather than visible, then it might be costing them.
“We are not disturbed by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens to us” – this quote by Greek philosopher Epictetus still holds meaning. Essentially he was trying to say that the main fear or challenge that people face is not necessarily the physical challenge at hand but rather the mental battle one has to face against oneself before facing the actual challenge.
Another successful season of CAMAWiSE events is complete. But we don’t look back for long, we’re well into planning our calendar of events for 2015-16. We do hope you can join us for one or more of them!
We have the final event in our workshop series on October 13th: Jane Goodall’s Communication Skills Masterclass. (Booking for this event is now full and has closed. If you would like to be added to a waiting/cancellation list for this event please email Gayle firstname.lastname@example.org)
Netherhall School, in Cambridge on the evening of 9th November, will be our venue once again for a STEM careers fair for girls aged 13-18. With speakers from different STEM backgrounds, this will be a great opportunity for girls to hear how fascinating and rewarding a career in science, technology, engineering or maths can be.