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Meet the Steering Group

Are you interested in being part of the Steering Group? Just contact our co-ordinator at info@camawise.org.uk.

Cathy Sorbara

cathy

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.

Ruchi Chauhan

photo

I am a biotechnology scientist with 15 years of research experience in various fields, including Neuroscience, Cancer, Proteo-Gen(omics) etc. I did my Ph.D. research at the Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School, USA. I worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Merck Pharma, Boston, USA. Currently, I am a Research Scientist at the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge.

Developing the business potential of scientific innovations has been my passion. I have often led my research projects to reach their applied or therapeutic potential and to be used as a tool of innovation and commercialization for better productivity. In addition, I have worked as the Fellow of Commercialization at the Technology Transfer department of the Harvard University. I have co-founded a data-analysis company that is in early proof-of-concept phase.

I am serving in various leadership & management roles in esteemed STEM organizations engaging students, women professionals, and non-scientific public. To name a few, I am a STEM Ambassador (STEMNET), Deputy-Chair (CamAWiSE), Mentor (NYAS), Science Reviewer (AAAS), and in Communications team (Pint of Science). I am an active educator/communicator of science contributing to STEM education/outreach, especially for women.

Aldara B. Dios

aldarabdios

What is your current profession/background?

I am a vocational product design engineer. Right now I’m working as a freelancer although I would love to work in a design company as part of a team. I’ve also worked as a web and graphic designer and have taught design during summer courses at the University.

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

In primary school, I had a wonderful maths teacher. He encouraged me and supported me. Maths was my favourite subject so I always knew I would follow a STEM career. For many years, I dreamed of being an astrophysicist. That changed but what never changed was that I wanted to study a STEM-related career.

What is one of your biggest aspirations?

As a product designer, I see myself as an inventor, a problem-solver and a designer. So my aspiration is to change people’s lives with a product I’ve worked on. I would also love to invent a product to wipe housework from women’s lives.

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

Believe
in yourself, no matter what others may say. If you want to be an engineer… you work hard to be an engineer (it’s what I did when I was told that I couldn’t be an engineer because I was a woman).

Don’t let anyone treat you differently because you are a woman. Neither for good nor for bad (I never let my male colleagues do more work just because they felt they could or should). No surprise, you will be more respected.

Learn to program. Now! And… enjoy! Science and technology are so much fun! They answer questions, allow you to be creative, solve problems. You will never be bored.

How have you benefited from being a part of CAMAWiSE?

Being a woman in a STEM career is not always easy. Personally, being part of a group of talented women who have the same problems or share a similar path makes me feel better and helps me better understand the problems I had found in the way. It is very rewarding, as well, to know that you are working to help other women and girls. It’s also been very useful professionally, as I’ve met other women who have helped me in different areas from networking to CV tailoring.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Since I’m living in Cambridge I love riding my trike from the Fitzwilliam to the Round Church on a cold winter afternoon and enjoying the view of all the colleges. I also like to draw buildings, to read science fiction and to knit socks.

Ask me about…..
CAD, design, computers and my tricycle.

Nikita Hari

nikita-hari

What 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.

Penny Coggill

penny-cogill

What is your current profession/background?

I have just retired from working with a protein-families database, finding evolutionary relationships between proteins from all forms of life. I have started my own company to edit/proof-read STEM documents in readiness for publication.

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

My father was a dental surgeon interested in facial surgery after war-wounds and brought home what I found were fascinating illustrated textbooks, so when I got to High School I wanted to study all the -ologies, ie STEM. As it turned out I didn’t pursue a career in medicine but went into biochemistry and nutrition.

What is one of your biggest aspirations?

Simply to see parity in male-female numbers up to the very top levels in STEM. To help as many other women as possible to achieve their potential in STEM.

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

Have faith in yourself. Go for want interests you and you wish to do and do not be put off by others telling you that you don’t have the right background or aptitude, or whatever. Never wait for someone to offer you promotion or suggest you apply for that professorship. Work out what your career path is going to look like in advance, ie how far you wish to go, and seek out the opportunities and the promotions along the way.

Always find people to seek advice from – these are often termed Mentors – to talk through your own plans with; and if they turn out to be good mentors then nurture them well. Don’t be afraid to go to the very top for advice either, even near the start of your career. On the professional front, become familiar with basic statistics and learn to program, even as a biologist.

How have you benefited from being a part of CAMAWiSE?

CamAWiSE is a support network, with frequent opportunities for networking/meeting people, hearing about their professional lives and making friends. The many workshops and talks on improving one’s personal image, outlook, technical abilities in giving presentations and chairing meetings more effectively have all benefited my career-profile.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I did, and sometimes still do, quite a bit of choral singing and I play the bass recorder. Learning to appreciate modern Art is ongoing and I have taken up knitting again…

Ask me about…..

Protein-evolution, British wildflowers, choral singing, and gardening.

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