It’s International Women’s Day! In celebration of this, the science sector of the magazine wanted to show you some of the incredible women across the University of Nottingham’s campuses who study Science. We figured you would rather hear it from their own mouths than ours, so here are just a few of the incredible female scientists studying here at Nottingham!
Despite statistics and metrics in the news and media where inequivalent ratios of women to men are shown in scientific careers, here at the UoN we feature a diverse range of women studying science who are analytical, forward-thinking and determined in their fields of research and study. I felt it is important to highlight the role of women in the world of science both today and in their future careers…
From a young age I enjoyed science and grew to appreciate just how incredible and awe-inspiring it can be. I am now studying for my Masters in Chemistry and am still amazed at how different theories and scientific approaches can result in the formation of your resultant product, or how you can view one chemical reaction from many different aspects, physically and chemically. To summarise studying Chemistry, there is nothing that can compare to the eureka feeling when you find something knew; you understand something you did not before or you have finally managed to carry out a reaction you have been practising for months! Being able to draw conclusions from your own work is highly motivational, and just adds to my determination in studying my degree.
~Inga Becker-Hansen, Science Editor, studying Chemistry
“…eureka feeling when you find something knew”
“Renewable energy, urban infrastructure and the conversion of buildings to minor power plants are the main pillars of the third industrial revolution” as Jeremy Rifkin stated in his book. Subjectively, I believe that renewable energy is the key contributor to a sustainable lifestyle, reducing the adverse effect of climate change and the industrial revolution as well as reducing levels of unemployment through substantial economic growth. Energy and economic growth are the wheels that drive the industrial revolution. I believe my responsibility as a future mechanical engineer is to develop the energy sector in terms of resources, storage and technology and find a solution that balances economic, social and environmental concerns.
~Maryam Sebzali, studying Mechanical Engineering
“Energy and economic growth are the wheels that drive the industrial revolution.”
Since a young age I have always had an interest in Science and Maths. I love the feeling and the satisfaction it brings when you solve a difficult problem. Although many might find maths boring and uninspiring, it is a degree that requires a level of creativity. To be able apply methods effectively often requires thinking outside the box to come up with the correct solution in an efficient way. Another reason I took a maths degree is that its highly employable. As someone unsure on what career to pursue, the skills developed on a maths degree, such as problem solving and the ability to think logically and rationally mean it is very versatile and there are lots of different career paths available to me.
~Ellie Armstrong, studying Mathematics
“I love the feeling and the satisfaction it brings”
More through chance than design, I am studying a subject that is a science. Psychology is at the forefront of scientific developments in areas that I have had an increasing awareness of as I have developed as a person throughout my life. Initially, the ideas surrounding mental health and personality disorders sparked these interests, and I now find myself studying the remarkable science behind this and many other topics in the field.
Although not the first subject that comes to mind when considering a science degree, studying Psychology is undeniably a science, consisting of cognitive and biological modules, statistics and lab report writing. While this may be a large part of the subject, doing Psychology allows me to be creative through considering different lines of arguments and developing my own opinion on a variety of topics in the essays I write. Being able to combine this factual side of Psychology with my original ideas and judgements is something I really enjoy and appreciate within a science degree.
~Anna Barker, studying Psychology
“allows me to be creative through considering different lines of arguments”
I am in my final year of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. I chose to study Chemistry because I have always been curious about science, even from an early age. Throughout school I was able to learn the basics about matter and reactions but studying this at University offered me the chance to feed my curiosity further. Chemistry offers an explanation of what everything around us is made of and how it all interacts on a fundamental level. As a subject, it can bridge between so many other sciences. The chance to explore the wide variety of its applications is what I enjoy most about studying this at university. It has opened my eyes to so many more possibilities within this field. I really enjoy working in the lab and finding out about the new research that is on-going. Chemistry, at times, examines some complicated concepts but, overall, is a really rewarding subject to study.
~Siobhán Foden, studying Chemistry
“offered me the chance to feed my curiosity”
Two of my favourite subjects in school were Maths and Art – needless to say choosing a university degree was not an easy thing to do. But the choice was almost immediately made when I came across the Product Design course. I always felt pressured to choose a very specific career path. You can either be creative and may struggle to find a job in a the very competitive field or do a science degree and also struggle to stand out compared to fellow male scientists. I never thought I could get a chance to combine my two passions and make a future out of it. Following these passions is also what pushed me to make a big step in my life and move overseas. Till this day it was one of the scariest choices I’ve made but I haven’t regretted it since.
~Jama Hamzayeva, studying Product Design and Manufacture
“struggle to stand out compared to fellow male scientists”
I chose to do a science related degree because it came with the promise of opening many doors for me. It has always been my dream to have a positive impact in this world, and through being not only a scientist, but also a pharmacist; I believe I can fulfil that dream. Having knowledge in scientific areas such as medicinal chemistry, drug discovery, microbiology and pharmacology has empowered me to not only understand what it takes to find cures for human diseases, but also offer the best advice possible to my future patients! Final year MPharm Degree
“I believe I can fulfil that dream”
I can not really remember when I went from thinking that flowers were just pretty things, to having a favourite type of grass (Holcus lanatus). But somewhere along the road I realised that figuring out even just the tiniest part of how a bunch of cells decide to go onto being an entire plant is probably the coolest thing I could do. So, I started a PhD in plant genetics to study pollen development in crops. To study for a PhD is one part working through the weekends because you just want to know if your experiment will work (which they probably will not), and one part taking a Tuesday afternoon off to enjoy the sun with a cold beer because something finally worked. It is a crazy mix of creative, nerdy people, cool new ideas, endless repeating of experiments, but still the discovery of something new. Every day. And it’s pretty amazing.
~ Johanna Astrand, studying Plant genetics
“…the discovery of something new. Every day. And it’s pretty amazing.”
I have not always been keen on physics even though, or maybe because, my dad is a physics teacher. In my all-girls school, there was a culture of moaning about science and maths lessons, but secretly I really enjoyed maths, probably because I was good at it. Physics was harder for me and I was predicted low grades but became more interested in it outside of school. I was fascinated with how it can explain everything and decided to study it with maths at uni. Also, it helped that, as cynical as it sounds, the career prospects with a physics degree are very good. I am pleased to say though that the content of physics at uni is a lot more exciting than A-level so I now like it almost as much as maths (but it shall never take top spot!). My course is great – I do all the fun bits of maths and learn the meanings and applications of this in physics. I have met like-minded people who value the same things as me like diversity in physics, and I enjoy doing outreach, getting kids excited about science.
~Matilda Chalk, studying Physics
“fascinated with how it can explain everything”
I loved science as a kid, and I always wanted to know more and more about how the world worked. Science is all around us and its constantly evolving; from creating new medicines to figuring out if there is life on other planets. I think what drew me into it was the scope of the field, and there are numerous areas of research that are really interesting and beneficial to the world. I feel like in order to improve, we need to understand. Whether it’s ways to reduce waste or how we can create a sustainable resource, science is a wonderful field and you never know what might be discovered next.
~Amy Squires , studying Chemistry
“numerous areas of research that are really interesting and beneficial to the world”
I am Nika and when I was in college, I had no idea what I want to do with my life. My favourite subject was physics. My favourite part of physics was electromagnetism. ‘Electrical engineering it is’-I made a quick choice. Little did I know. During my first week I burned my hair with soldering machine, blew up a microcontroller and fell in love with engineering. It was three years ago. I no longer burn myself when I solder and I am smart enough to check wiring before I turn the power on. But I still feel the same enthusiasm towards engineering and the same thrill as I did during that first week. A spontaneous decision I made while choosing my degree turned out to be best in my life.”
~Nika Piekut, studying Electrical Engineering
“I still feel the same enthusiasm towards engineering and the same thrill as I did during that first week”
I like biology, and it likes me. It has always made sense to me, even when it should not make sense at all. My dad studied biology, so I guess you could say it runs in my family. I like to think of him as a fount of knowledge, he seems to be able to answer any question you throw at him, and I think he has his Biology background to thank for that. Why is the sky blue? How do heart transplants work? Why do I look like you? My dad could give you a simple explanation for all of these questions, and after 3 years of my degree, now I can too. Biology can be so vast and so niche and everything in between. Why on earth would I study anything else?
~Honor Sangster, studying Biology
“Why on earth would I study anything else?”
So, on in International Women’s Day, we at Impact would like to say how appreciative we are of all women of science in the present and future…
If you have been inspired by our Women of Science and would like to write Science articles for Impact Lifestyle please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.