Women in STEM

Colfe’s was delighted to welcome a series of inspirational speakers and several Old Colfeians for its first ever Women in STEM event. The event, born from an idea from a FemSoc student member, shone a light on the breadth of opportunities within the STEM industries, a sector that has been historically underrepresented by women.

The evening was extremely well attended by students and families within the Colfe’s community, who heard from six guest speakers covering a wide variety of industries and areas of scientific innovation, from medicine and finance to engineering and environmental industries. The presentations were followed by a drinks reception to enable plenty of networking and informal discussion opportunities with the speakers and with many Old Colfeians now working in STEM industries who came back to Colfe’s to speak to current students.

Each of the speakers are leaders in their field, and they presented fascinating accounts of their different sectors and their roles within them:

  • Dr Laura Currin Salter, Clinical Director of Gynaecology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Nidhi Kapoor, Director of Visa Government Solutions
  • Florence Igoe (OC), Actuarial Trainee Consultant at Hymans Robertson
  • Jo Smith, Associate at DDA Engineers
  • Dr Allyson Thirkell, CIO at Energy Storage Africa
  • Dr Raia Hadsell, VP and Google DeepMind

As well as hearing of the journeys to their current roles, the audience learnt of the extraordinary achievements and developments within the different organisations, from the fast-increasing sophistication of AI to the demands of an Obstetrics and Gynaecology ward that sees nearly 5,000 births per year. The reality of life as a woman in STEM was not glossed over, with several of the speakers exploring the barriers that are still faced, but the insights into how to overcome these barriers and thrive were much appreciated by the audience.

Holly Batten, Assistant Director of Sixth Form (Academic), said, “We were thrilled to hold the Women in Stem event, which we hope will be the first of many. The range of opportunity and exciting innovations within the STEM industries were so well reflected in our line-up of speakers, who together were a superb showcase for how scientific disciplines interrelate.

“Likewise, it was wonderful to see former students from the past five years return, excited to share their enthusiasm for their sectors from finance to nursing. Our students were truly inspired by what they heard and it was fantastic to see this generation so enthused by what their futures could hold.”

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