To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Principle One is celebrating with a profile of two recent female graduates, who both came from scientific backgrounds. Emily Hampson, currently working as a Systems Analyst, who studied Physics at Oxford, and Georgia Braddyll-Brown, a Systems Engineer, completed a Masters in Computer Science from Newcastle. Both women graduated as part of the Covid class of 2020 and both are now putting their skills into practice as part of a large team developing a new national capability for UK Law Enforcement.
Their routes into Principle One are quite different but give some insight into the challenges faced by girls in developing the resilience and perseverance required to progress into a scientific career. They shared some thoughts on women and girls in science, and who their role models are and how their academic backgrounds in science have helped them take on key roles in delivering to our customers.
Emily’s Physics A-Level class had just two girls in a class of twenty. Her Physics course at university was slightly better, with 20% female students. She strongly believes that a barrier to women in science is a lack of confidence. Compared to their male counterparts, women are often less likely to just give something a go or have the confidence in themselves to put themselves forward in class.
Emily’s role model in science is Emmy Noether, who discovered Noether’s theorem, a fundamental principle of mathematical physics. As a woman in the 1910s, Noether was not allowed to teach, and had to sign up to lecture under her male colleague’s name. Her tenacity and determination has inspired Emily in her scientific studies and in her role today. As a Systems Analyst, she needs to combine her problem-solving abilities with good communication skills, in order to extract the information needed to design the system.
Looking forward, Emily’s ambitions are centred around broadening her knowledge and gaining a deeper understanding of the domain by trying different roles and exploring a variety of areas in systems engineering and project delivery, which her Principle One career will provide plenty of opportunity to progress.
Georgia’s path into science and a systems engineering role was quite different to Emily’s. A believer in following your passions, Georgia completed a German and History degree at King’s College London, before progressing onto a Computer Science Conversion Course at Newcastle. Georgia still considers herself to be a ‘humanities loyalist’ as she felt she was stronger at those subjects at school – although Computer Science wasn’t even an option for her at GCSE.
However, instead of studying IT at school, Georgia used her free time to teach herself various web technologies and build her skills and experience that way. She continued with self study throughout university, where she connected with women across the world who had followed a similar path, and then chose to convert to Computer Science for her Masters, where, like Emily, she found herself in a minority, with only 12 women in a cohort of 120.
Georgia highlighted Katia Krafft as a role model for her in science, a female volcanologist and whose photography work enabled better safety and evacuation procedures to be developed. Her passion and fearlessness inspires Georgia, as she loves to see women making their mark in STEM.
Georgia’s current project role as a Systems Engineer sees her applying her technical skills – undertaking hands-on development of the new system, working closely with systems analysts such as Emily, and translating their design into applications. Her short term focus is to learn as much as possible by building different systems that will enable her to grow as a developer, and she’s intrigued and excited to see where this career path will take her with Principle One.
What was clear in talking to both women, is how daunting the gender disparity in STEM subjects can be and how that continues to impact on women who want to pursue a career in science or technology. So what attracted them to Principle One? Both were interested in getting involved in meaningful work from the very start of their career, which working in Law Enforcement has provided. Principle One’s emphasis on teamwork and a culture where we celebrate and encourage diversity was also important. Finally, both Georgia and Emily relished the flexibility to develop your own career path, to try something new and take on new challenges without fear of failure, and to be a pioneer in their own right.