"I was really inspired by how passionate everyone I met was about encouraging diversity and promoting participation for women in STEM"

Lauren, UKESF Scholar

UKESF Scholar Attends WISE Conference

UKESF Scholar Lauren (2016–19), who studies at the University of Surrey and is sponsored by Renesas, recently attended the 2018 WISE Conference in Salford. The event aims to ‘inform’, ‘connect’ and ‘inspire’ women in science and engineering through a day of presentations, panel discussions, workshops and networking. This year’s conference was the biggest yet – read about Lauren’s experience below.

“The conference was brilliant, not only because of the quality of the panels and speakers but also due to the excellent role models and fellow engineers I met there. I received lots of support and advice from other recent graduates and PhD students about my options after I finish my degree, and gained a better understanding of how I can plan my own career progression. I also think the event changed my opinion about other companies in the Engineering sector, based on the diversity and equality work they’re involved in, which has encouraged me to start researching different graduate schemes and opportunities.

I was really inspired by how passionate everyone I met was about encouraging diversity and promoting participation for women in STEM, both those barriers that are easy to notice (low amounts of women in workplaces, under-representation at senior management level, fewer women studying Physics at A-level), but also some less noticeable (other people suggesting STEM careers rather than women self-identifying with the pathway, the gendered language of job applications). The diversity of topics covered shed light on geographic barriers like the North-South divide, on challenges in research with the discrepancy of female patent applications and on smart working and how to harness technology to maximise diverse opportunity.

They also mentioned a programme they run called ‘People Like Me’, which is a workshop they run with young women. It’s exactly the sort of thing I would have found really valuable at high school, and it’s an electronics student that inspired me to be an electronic engineer too!”

In 2016 the UKESF collaborated with the WISE Campaign to produce a special Electronics version of the People Like Me pack – find out more and download the resources here.