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Posts tagged ‘Research’

Homeward Bound to Antarctica: Dr Deborah Pardo – by Raheela Rehman

Setting sail from Argentina, 76 women from 16 countries capped off 2016 with a 20-day voyage to Antarctica. This made the BBC news front page story; “Largest all-women expedition heads to Antarctica”. Homeward Bound, an Australian programme, is the brainchild of Dr Jessica Melbourne-Thomas and Ms Fabian Dattner. It aims to place women, with a science background, firmly on the global map to influence “policy and decision making as it shapes our planet”. The Homeward Bound voyage in parallel with lectures and leadership workshops, took its very first women to observe the effect of climate change close up.

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I thought I knew what Dr Deborah Pardo was about to present at Lucy Cavendish College. I expected a presentation about; her participation in Homeward Bound, her climate observations at Antarctica, how her research slotted into the programme’s objectives and to inspire the audience to push their boundaries. Yes, Deborah hit all four, but her unexpected “contagious optimism” set the room alight. She took our hands, pulled us into her world and we took our personal journey through her experience.

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Deborah’s professional roles took her from France (her home) to Sweden and most recently to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge, UK. Her research focus at BAS was on the demography and understanding the drop in the populations of three Albatross species (Wandering, Grey-headed, and Black-browed). She monitored the birds by tagging them with tracking devices and processed the extracted data using extensive computer modelling. During this time Deborah trained two PhD students and she also took maternity leave to have her son. A guilt-ridden 10 months followed as she was unable to provide full focus on both her research and family life. As a driven scientist she found it difficult being away from her work, but with no family support in the UK, the time away led to personal reflection on her work-life balance.

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She questioned the reach of her research papers. In the bigger picture, what impact would they have globally to help the Albatross species? The next step came naturally; intrinsic goals would lead to satisfaction and play as a catalyst for happiness. These goals included improving the environment and reducing consumption. The common denominator to create this global wave required half the population to engage, and that was to empower women to take a lead.

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In developing countries, women are the carers for their families, their children and the old. They hold a “quiet knowledge”, which glues the family together. Along with this central role, at times of crisis women are also the most affected – Deborah cited the Bangladesh floods of 1991, where 90% of those killed were women.

But it was also this “quiet knowledge” that women used in Western Africa, where Water Hyacinth had polluted the waterways. This removed the oxygen from the water, suffocating the fish and impeding the movement of boats. This halted trade and fishing for the local fishermen. The women removed the weed, using them to make ropes that they entrepreneurially traded, whilst freeing the waterways. Deborah explained that women work close to the ground and they are more aware and proactive to combating climate change.

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She also pointed out the stark figures of women globally in positions of leadership:

  • Research | 28%
  • Politics | 27%
  • Business | 20%
  • Medical doctors| 16%

Leadership takes many forms and not just being the CEO. The knowledge within the person is the formative contributor to leadership and success. As a scientist, Dr Deborah Pardo followed her professional path, with rigorous evidence-based decision-making. As a female scientist, Dr Pardo believes that leadership decisions are taken collectively as a team, which is a key leadership capability. The economic case shows that when senior leadership is composed of greater diversity, the skills that women bring to the table strengthen the organisational performance.

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Prior to the journey, a year-long preparation involving; online training and psychological tests measuring the participants’ lifestyle were taken. She was also required to raise $16k (US dollars). Deborah rose to the challenge. One of the sponsors was the parent of a school child. Deborah was required to provide an educational video for the school in return for the sponsorship. She will also work with the school for three months.

Why Antarctica? Antarctica is an iconic symbol of the human impact on the world and grabs the attention of the media. The participants travelled by ship overnight to different locations, in the mornings after breakfast they went on land and returned for training in the afternoon.

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One of the lessons learnt from her Homeward Bound journey, was to question; “What can I really achieve?” Within a network, Deborah is in a stronger position to instigate, maintain and follow through for change. She will now act as a mentor to the next set of bright women who take up the challenge, including Catherine Sorbara, new Chair of CamAWISE.

By Raheela Rehman

Winter networking 2016

Speed networking, stories of real-life professional women and mince pies. That could be a recap of the 2016 winter networking, but it was so much more.

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Mince pies

During the speed networking, the room was filled with energy as attendees changed partner every five minutes. This allowed everybody to make more contacts and to hone their networking skills.

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End of a five minutes segment.

After the networking, several members of the steering group talked about their professional careers. Although they all had different paths they all stressed the importance of doing what you enjoy and not what you are supposed to do

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Julia Bardos

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Anne Clarke

For all of them, CamAWiSE was very important in different stages of their career as a friendly and supportive group. Indeed, CamAWiSE is a good place to connect with professional women who share similar experiences, gain skills and increase your confidence.

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Penny Coggill

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Claire Lucas

We also had an impromptu speaker: Lucy Bennett, an engineering student who brought out the importance of having female role models for students like her.

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Lucy Bennett

Thank you very much to all the speakers for sharing their experiences with us.

Getting noticed on LinkedIn

“I have attended events on LinkedIn before, but this workshop’s step-wise approach to building a meaningful and strong profile had much more impact”, said one attendee coming out of the CamAWiSE event. The ‘Getting noticed on LinkedIn’ workshop was conducted by Cathy Sorbara, COO of Cheeky Scientist and a steering group member of CamAWiSE. LinkedIn is proving to be a ‘must-have’ social presence for professional growth whether to seek job opportunities or to build your brand. 

Cathy asked the attendees to consider questions like –

  • What is the goal of your LinkedIn profile?
  • Who is your target audience (hiring manager or business partner?)
  • If someone doesn’t know your name, what keywords might they use which would lead them to your profile?

 

Cathy emphasised making use of the headline and summary space to create a crisp account of your achievements and aspirations. The headline, she explained, should use your transferable and technical skills to define you as a person. Make a connection with the viewer using an elevator pitch! The summary should not be a resumé–like account but an expression or narration of your aspirations. List the achievements that relate to those goals in a manner that stimulates the viewer to connect and find out more about you. Visual assets including PowerPoint presentations, links to blogs, pdf files, and pictures can be added to reinforce your achievements and the trajectory you aspire to.

img_4458-copyRecommendations and skills endorsements from connections (usually colleagues) are important ways to build credibility and increase profile views. Cathy added: “Everybody has transferable skills, even if they don’t know it, and these skills are in popular demand over technical ones”. Your profile photo must be high-quality and professional-looking, while a background photo is a great way to give further weight to the image you would like to promote. Volunteer experiences and publicising your interests by content sharing are great ways to connect to your target audience and showcase your communication and knowledge-based skills.

When requesting connections, it is more rewarding and respectful to personalise the standard message provided by LinkedIn. You can refer to a common interest or connection, for example, but keep to no more than 50 words.

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A great profile will help you begin to capitalise on the most powerful online networking tool in the world that is used by 98% of recruiters. However, networking on LinkedIn is the next essential step to connect directly with target viewers and their secondary connections, helping you build a strong network which enhances profile visibility. Other social media platforms like Twitter, as well as in-person networking, also play an important role. Let’s connect!

by Ruchi Chauhan

Book now! ‘Getting noticed on LinkedIn’

Don’t miss the second event of the WiSE UP workshops. ‘Getting noticed on LinkedIn’ facilitated by Cathy Sorbara will be held November 15th at Lucy Cavendish.

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LinkedIn has over 332 million users, 17 million in the UK alone.

94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date makes you 18 times more likely to be found in searches and by recruiters.

Bottom line: if your profile is not up to scratch, you are missing out on capitalizing on the most powerful online networking tool in the world.

Come join CamAWiSE as we walk you through the three most important components of a LinkedIn profile and how to successfully optimize your profile to increase visibility.

Whether you are changing careers or simply looking to build an online presence, this workshop is not to be missed.

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Getting noticed on LinkedIn

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Getting noticed on LinkedIn

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What next for your career in science

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and CamAWiSE held their 10th annual event ‘What next for your career in science’ on 30th June.

Hayley Sharpe, a Principal Investigator at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR), Burcu Babaoglan Fiehler, Clinical Trials Coordinator at the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit (CCTU) and Ryan Fiehler, Senior Scientist at F-star Biotechnology Ltd were the speakers this year.

Every year this networking event brings together early career researchers from Cambridge looking to learn more about different career paths in and beyond academia. This year the speakers focused on the key transition points that led them to their current positions.

After the talks, there was an active panel discussion and a networking session.

You can read more about this event in the LMB blog

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