What is your current profession/background?
I am Information Services Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, based just outside Cambridge. I manage a small team dedicated to providing high-quality, evidence-based health information about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
I have always worked in scientific information, from the early days of online literature searching and information retrieval. My career path started with a chance encounter with online searching through a temporary job when I first moved to Cambridge. This led to roles with the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Cambridge Display Technology, and I also worked freelance for a number of years.
What point in your life led you to pursue a STEM career?
I fell into science by accident! I was heading for a career as a bilingual secretary when I discovered geology in the sixth form and fell in love with it! This was definitely partly due to a brilliant teacher, as is so often the case. From that point, despite having no previous science qualifications, I did everything I could to change direction and managed to persuade UEA to let me study for a degree in Environmental Science. I never looked back!
What is one of your biggest aspirations?
Having just been promoted into a management role for the first time in many years, for the moment I just want to get to grips with my new responsibilities and feel confident that I’m doing a good job.
What advice would you give to aspiring female scientists and engineers?
Don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you want something enough you will make it happen.
How have you benefited from being a part of CamAWiSE?
I joined CamAWiSE about four years ago when I was working freelance, and was delighted when shortly afterwards I had the opportunity to apply for the post of Coordinator for the organisation. My application was successful, and I spent a happy 18 months organising events, running the membership and meeting and greeting attendees at our events. This built my confidence in many ways and gave me new skills to add to my CV.
In 2014, having made the decision to terminate my freelance activities, I successfully applied for a full-time role with Alzheimer’s Research UK, and had to give up my Coordinator duties. Since then I’ve been a member of the Steering Group and have added further strings to my bow including becoming Co-chair.
In addition to developing new skills, I’ve made some great friends through CamAWiSE. It’s a very special organisation which provides a safe and supportive environment for women to learn, develop and network.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to be outside enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. I enjoy walking very much, though prefer somewhat more interesting landscapes than those found around Cambridge! I’m also a great fan of classical music and love to read when I have time.
Ask me about…..
Dementia; plants and horticulture; choral singing.