The booking for the WiSE-UP series 2018-2019 is now open. You can book for any of the talks independently or take advantage of the reduced price when you book for two, three, or four. In fact, if you are not a member and decided to book for all the workshops you will include a free […]
Posts from the ‘Work-Life Balance’ Category
by Aldara B. Dios
During this year’s AGM we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Helen Mason OBE as the speaker. She took us on a journey, not to the Sun perhaps, but through her life and research.
She began talking about the Sun. The Sun is a middle-aged star that has fascinated scientists of all ages like Galileo and Newton, two of her favourite scientists, and still fascinates Helen Mason. The focus of her research is the Sun’s Corona, the aura of plasma that surrounds the Sun and which is only visible during an Eclipse. Although the Sun’s temperature is about six thousand Kelvin, the Corona’s temperature raises to an amazing millions of Kelvin degrees. And it is from the corona that the solar winds and storms originate which only add interest to its research.
Nobody is an island
But the Sun was only an introduction, she wished to share with us her path, and in her own words “Nobody is an island”. It’s true, no one creates a career alone. Your network (your family, your friends, your colleagues) through the years is as important as your work. Helen shared with us how her friends and colleagues not only help her, but also make her feel very fortunate.
While Helen was doing her Ph.D. at the University of London she found her first professional support: Professor Mike Seaton. He not only trusted her but he boosted her confidence as well, encouraging her to go beyond her comfort zone.
Years later, working in the USA, Helen was able to call upon her family’s help. By then she had two children and with both she and her husband working, her only support was that from sisters, which allowed her to continue researching.
It was hard, she said, but again I was fortunate, very fortunate to have my sisters.
Back in the UK, she started working at the DAMTP (Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge) where the confidence and support of Professor David Crighton allowed her not only to continue working, but to expand in her career.
I’m in debt of this man
During her career, she has collaborated with NASA, ESA, SOHO (solar and heliospheric observatory), HINODE and CHIANTI, making her network bigger and giving her opportunities to visit astonishing places.
You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover it himself.
Help and networks go both ways, it’s a two-way road. Helen has been fortunate enough to be the support and inspiration not only of her Ph.D. students but also of hundreds of students in schools in Africa and the UK.
She confessed that her experience in India and South Africa, was a learning experience for the children and also for herself and the young teachers that accompanied her.
The children had thirst for learning, they valued the opportunity to absorb new knowledge, new skills. Something that is taken for granted in Occident.
Helen has been fortunate (she said so several times during her talk) in her path with personal learning along the way. To end her talk she shared with us her magic list to achieve a successful life ourselves.
- Be yourself
- Be true to what matters in your life
- In success remember those who helped you
- Treat failure as an opportunity to learn and move forward
- Never be afraid of a new challenge
- Engage in other activities
We want to thank Dr. Helen Mason for an inspirational night and Ruchi Chauhan for inviting such a motivational speaker.
From Label to Able
The most attractive quality in anyone is to know yourself – your strengths, motivations and how you can make a difference. Katherine Wiid, a Cambridge based Career Management Coach who specialises in career motivation, will help delegates consider themselves with fresh eyes not just as a “returner to work” or a “trailing spouse”.
Katherine believes that it is not what you’ve got – it’s what you do with what you’ve got!
Hear from Katherine among other speakers during the Relaunch your career event. Read more here
Booking is now closed
November 4th 2017, British Antarctic Survey’s Aurora Center
British Antarctic Survey’s Aurora Center
Coffee break, Tea break, Lunch, and materials included.
With the collaboration of
What is your current profession/background?
I hold a PhD in Chemistry and currently work at an International Chemicals company, developing after-treatment solutions for the automotive industry. I apply my knowledge and skills to the creation of next generation catalysts. I started in research and followed this with a move to development. This involves working with customers to understand their requirements, turning these into development projects.
What point in your life led you to pursue a career in STEM?
I have always had a keen interest in how things work; one of my earliest memories is finding a bird skeleton in the garden and working out how it functioned and fitted together! I was fortunate to be taught by two very inspirational chemistry teachers at school who sparked off and encouraged my interest in chemistry.
What is one of your biggest aspirations?
To use science to improve the environment and human health. I spent a year in a research lab in France studying marine sediments for pollutants. This was both thoroughly enjoyable and the turning point in my decision of how I was to apply my scientific background in my career. I have continued this through my work, reducing pollution from trucks and buses.
What advice would you give to aspiring female scientists and engineers?
Follow what interests you and what you love doing. Seek out a mentor and offer mentoring to others. Actively manage your career at all times. And most importantly, science and engineering are fascinating and constantly changing subjects, so enjoy!
How have you benefited from being a part of CAMAWiSE?
I have been a member of CAMAWiSE for a couple of years and it has been wonderful to meet fellow STEM professionals with similar interests and experiences. The workshops have been complementary to the training I have received through my job and have given me additional tools to use for personal development.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have completed the Cambridge half marathon and fit in exercise whenever I can. I have an allotment and love spending a Sunday afternoon digging, weeding and growing unusual produce. I even grew award-winning pumpkins this year!
Ask me about …
Automotive catalysis, spot the truck and name the catalyst (!), and balancing a career with having children.