The story of Women of the Future 2018

Women of the Future is a celebration of the role of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine.

Every year, we host the one-day event, inviting inspiring speakers and employers from around the world, and research groups from across the Norwich Research Park to join us.

Our aim for the day is to highlight the enormous diversity of opportunities in STEMM and to raise aspirations and broaden horizons of local GCSE students.

Over 200 Year 10 female students, with their teachers attended the 2018 event towards the end of November, coming from across Norfolk and North Suffolk.

Starting with an interactive show; ‘The XX Factor’, given by Wendy Sadler from ‘Science Made Simple’, the day went on to include speeches from successful scientists and engineers and the chance to meet dozens of women with different stories and roles in STEMM.

Pupils were also encouraged to ask questions about their careers so far and ask for advice.

We asked some pupils from Diss High School to share their thoughts of the day. Diss is a small town in South Norfolk, right on the border with Suffolk, and this year was the first time the Diss High School brought a group to the event.

The GCSE Biology Girls had this to say about the Women of the Future event 2018

Expectations

“We were excited for the day and weren’t exactly sure what a conference was.

We really thought it was going to be overwhelming with too many scientists and people. Being the John Inness Centre, we were aware of its reputation, so were expecting a really intimidating environment – and were so pleased when we realised that just wasn’t the case at all.

We were also expecting a more serious atmosphere – which really wasn’t the case.”

The morning

“The Double XX factor was both inspiring and entertaining. It was really good to learn about present female scientists as well as past ones.

We found the 3 speakers really engaging and have a completely different view of broccoli now…

It was also great to learn that to become a great scientist you don’t have to travel far from home. The engineer also really displayed to us the wide range of careers that we hadn’t known existed until today.

Meeting the STEMM professionals was so interesting and we couldn’t think of another chance that we would ever get to do that. Their enthusiasm for their jobs was obvious and really inspiring.”

The afternoon

“The stalls from different employers were interactive and it meant we had a lot of fun. It was also really interesting to meet someone who was a student at Diss High School and had gone into STEMM, it really highlighted what we can achieve.

The Q & A session at the end was one of our favourite parts of the day. It showed us that scientists are just normal, fun people as well as being experts in their field.

We were so pleased we had loads of our questions answered and that made us feel like we really had been part of an exciting and informative day.”

Overall

“We had a very funny and entertaining day.

As well as the scientists we also met other students from different schools and it really opened our eyes to the opportunities that are available to us.

We had a brilliant time and it was great to be part of a female only day.

It has made us think about our future university choices.”

Other students

As well as speaking to the girls from Diss, we asked other students to pin their thoughts to a giant double helix and this is what they told us they had learnt.

“I found it reassuring that so many people within STEMM switched their career path”

“Very interesting, great new career ideas”

“I really liked hearing the talks from the perspectives of women with experience in STEM”

One comment really made us glad we had put on such a busy event.

“This event is incredible because all the way through history women have been underappreciated, so this is a brilliant way to bring female scientists to light.”

Thoughts will soon turn to next year’s conference which is planned to take place on 27 November 2019 – inspiring even more young women about their scientific futures.

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Thanks to the following students and staff from Diss High School for their help with this blog;

  • Charlotte Lucas (Science Teacher)
  • Charlotte Jeffers (PE Teacher and Careers Coordinator)
  • Amy Adshead
  • Erin Aldous
  • Elizabeth Armstrong
  • Willow Bennet
  • Caitlin Brett
  • Rosanna Brett
  • Mae Clark
  • Elena Cowan
  • Cait Croft
  • Bella Litewska
  • Elizabeth Newberry
  • Grace Phillips

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