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Posts from the ‘CamAWISE news’ Category

My Homeward Bound Journey: The Beginning by Cathy Sorbara.

A little over four months ago, was the annual general meeting CamAWiSE, my first event acting as Chair. I listened to a talk by Dr. Deborah Pardo, a population modeller from the British Antarctic Survey, who was part of Homeward Bound’s maiden voyage to Antarctica last year. I heard her talk with such passion and clarity about Homeward Bound’s mission and how it has changed her life that I knew immediately that I needed to be part of this story.

Homeward Bound, she said, is a groundbreaking leadership, strategic and science initiative, and outreach for women, set against the backdrop of Antarctica.

The initiative, turned global movement, aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background in order to influence policy and decision making as it shapes our planet.

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Deborah Pardo

When it launched in 2016, Homeward Bound gathered the first 76 of a targeted 1,000 women from around the world, all with critical science backgrounds, to undertake a year-long state-of-the-art program to develop their leadership and strategic capabilities, using science to build conviction around the importance of their voices. The inaugural program culminated in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica, in December 2016, with a focus on the leadership of women and the state of the world.

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Where do I sign up? I asked her following her talk. Serendipitously, the applications for the 2018 voyage were due three days later.

I rushed home and cleared my schedule for the weekend. I started to scroll through the online application and with each question my inner critic was pleading for me to quit. The questions ranged from Why are you suitable for Homeward Bound? To Given your science background, how do you think your leadership could influence policy and decision making? I even had to create a 2-minute elevator pitch and upload it to YouTube for their assessment.

I searched through last years’ participant videos and felt completely out of my league. These women were true leaders, leading inspirational lives. They were professors, heads of research organizations and environmental conservationists.

I, on the other hand, was a biochemist by training, I did my Ph.D. in Medical Life Science in Munich Germany and following my graduate studies, I stepped away from research. I never considered myself a leader and found the label very intimating.

Then there was the biggest catch. One of the project’s objectives is to be 100% self-funded, so not ‘not-for-profit’ and not ‘for-profit’. All women must contribute $16 000 USD. This covers the cost of being on the ship for 21 nights, hotel accommodation, faculty meetings, administration and operational contributions. On top of this, I would still need to pay for flights to our departure point at Ushuaia, Argentina.

I scrolled seemingly hundreds of times through the application and last years’ participant list, slowly talking myself out of applying. Then I saw a paragraph at the very of the application in BOLD. It said, We know women tend to only apply to positions where we feel we qualify 100%. We are here to tell you: JUST APPLY. We want women from a variety of STEM backgrounds at a variety of stages in the leadership journey. Sincerely, The Homeward Bound Team.

 

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Photo by Deborah Pardo

 

Then I started thinking of my own situation.

I am in a unique position. I am a scientist, chair of CamAWiSE and COO of the Cheeky Scientist Association, a global training platform for STEM academics looking to transition into industry. I have the ability to lead, influence and contribute to the lives of thousands of women and hopefully instill upon them confidence and encouragement to achieve their goals. My colleagues are located across Europe, Australia, India, and America, to name but a few countries. Building relationships, managing time zones and learning remote communication tools to enhance my leadership and strategical capability is not only a bonus but an absolute necessity for me to be successful in my current role and make a difference in the lives of others. I bring with me the voice of early career scientist that I counsel daily and know first hand their struggles, fears and dreams that need be heard in order to create policies to shape the future of our planet.

 

In particular, self-doubt within female PhDs is incredibly strong and inhibiting. I joined Homeward Bound to prove to those graduates that we can all be leaders and that leadership comes in many forms and from many fields.

Fryxellsee, Antarctica, Blue Ice, Lake, Mountains

To me, leadership is about finding out who you are as a person and using your gifts, your own unique attributes, to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves. Leaders do not create a vision on their own but bring together the best team of individuals that together can achieve greatness. When a great leader steps down or moves on, the team not only remains strong but can thrive due to the lasting impression of that leader and confidence she instilled upon.

Homeward Bound is definitely outside my comfort zone, which is why I am even more driven to do it.

Two weeks after submitting my application, I received the congratulatory email that I was selected out of the hundreds of women across the globe that had applied. We will be stronger together!

If you would like to support my journey, please see my crowdfunding page here: https://igg.me/at/fb1KLsOodu8

 

 

Let’s Get Quizzical: A women in STEM Quiz night

Join us!
A fun and relaxed evening of networking for women in STEM. A superb opportunity to meet other women in academia, industry, and enterprise at different career stages.

For part of the evening, we will have a fun thematic quiz night. How much do you know about women in STEM? Are you ready to win our big prize or will you be the wooden spoon?

And of course, as every year we have a special summer treat: famous Lucy Cavendish’s mini scones and strawberries & cream.

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Lucy Cavendish College
Reception rooms
Tuesday 18th July
20:00-22:00

Lucy Cavendish College is a walking distance from the City Center
There is plenty of space for your bike and free parking for attendees.

Book here!

 

 

What Next for your Career in Science

The annual careers lunchtime talk on scientific careers, held in association with the MRC-LMB, will take place on Friday 30th June 12:00-14:00 in the Max Perutz Lecture Theatre. The presentations will be followed by a buffet lunch and networking opportunity.

Before the crowds

Topics to be covered include career transitions into the Biotech Industry, Business Development and Consultancy, and Public Engagement.

The speakers are:

Dr. Elizabeth Fairley
Elizabeth is currently the Director at Talking Medicines

Dr. Monika Papworth
Monika is at MedImmune (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology)

Dr. Sarah Cumbers
Sarah works at NICE and is currently an Associate Director.

This event and lunch is free and open to all AWiSE members and others in
Cambridge.

Please register on Eventbrite

https://goo.gl/eM4Asu

Friday 30th June
12.00-2.00pm
Venue: Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Meet the Steering Group – Ruchi Chauhan

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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.

Save the date: CamAWiSE-MRC Annual lunchtime

CamAWiSE-MRC Annual lunchtime meeting is on Friday 30th June

Before the crowds

What next for your career in science

Friday 30th June

12.00-2.00pm

Venue: Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Topics to be covered include career transitions into the Biotech Industry, Business Development and Consultancy, and Public Engagement.
The talks will be followed by a networking lunch, sponsored by the MRC.
Further details and Registration to follow.

 

 

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