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Carol Robinson in Nature

Carol Robinson, a professor in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge who recently moved to University of Oxford wrote an article about the dearth of women at the top of Chemistry.

A summary:

Carol Robinson describes herself as “the first female chemistry professor at both the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, which have a combined history in chemistry of about 800 years”, which in itself is quite telling of the nature of the chemical sciences and it explains why she frequently gets asked why so many women leave chemistry at an early stage of their career. In chemistry, the attrition rate from PhD students (46% women) to professorships (6% women) is even bigger than in other traditionally male fields such as engineering and physics.

Carol did not have a traditional academic career. She left school to work in an industrial lab at 16 and eventually working her way through night-school to a point where she could start a PhD. After her PhD she took 8 years off to have her three children during a career break and then came back to a career in science. “Admittedly, after my eight-year absence, it was hard to find a position in science. I had three interviews before convincing a panel that I was committed (one interviewer remembered me positively from my student days).”

She talks about the pros and cons of being interested in dressing well and shoes as a woman in chemistry- and argues that women should not loose their femininity:  “By behaving or dressing as honorary men, we only reinforce the macho culture of chemistry”.

Coming soon…”Mentoring for Success”

“Mentoring for Success”
with Jacqui Hogan, MentorSET
Tuesday 11th October, 8pm-10pm, at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

Cambridge AWiSE and MentorSET are running a joint workshop to explore mentoring and provide practical advice on how mentoring can benefit your career and personal development.

Mentoring is a powerful personal development tool.  Having a mentor can help you achieve your career goals or navigate your way through complex situations successfully.  Perhaps consider becoming a mentor yourself.  It is rewarding and enjoyable, as well as an excellent way to develop key leadership skills. 
Download a flyer Mentoring for Success 11Oct11.

About our workshop leader:
Jacqui Hogan is the current manager of the MentorSET scheme.   She has, for the last 30 or so years, worked in a variety of technical and managerial roles in the IT industry and has experience with a wide variety of sectors in industry and enterprise. Jacqui is an experienced mentor and workshop leader, and has worked as an independent consultant for the past 8 years.

For more information on the value of mentoring and case studies go to

Event details:
“Mentoring for Success” with Jacqui Hogan
Tuesday 11th October, 8pm-10pm
Reception Rooms, Warburton Hall, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Tea, coffee and superb cakes plus time to network and meet new people
£5 for members, £10 for non-members.  Includes workshop materials and refreshments.  
Online registration.
Our events are open to everyone, both women and men.

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