This last year has seen WISE grow with some of its best events yet, as well as expanding our Outreach to new heights. We aim to continue to bring together like-minded people from across the University and beyond to discuss diversity in STEM, and to inspire each other with new opportunities.
This is what WISE has been up to this last year.
We kicked off the year with our first WISE inspire event. We invited female speakers from academia to talk about their experiences as women in science. We’re so thankful to Dr Jennifer Bryant, a cancer scientist, Maria Sharif, a postgraduate, and Professor Rachel O’Reilly (pictured), the Head of Chemistry here at the University. All three talks were fantastic, and we had great attendance which allowed for a lot of networking over pizza at the end of the evening!
We collaborated with the brand new BEaMS (Black Ethnic and Minority Scientists) society to run a PwC resilience workshop, which gave final year students the opportunity to learn what employers are looking for and how to stand out in the recruitment process. We hope to collaborate with BEaMS again this year!
The Autumn term saw the return and growth of our award-winning Girls in STEM outreach scheme, which now has over 100 volunteers visiting two schools weekly.
In the spring, we expanded the scope of our outreach by purchasing four Rasberry Pi Computers. Young girls from Hillcrest School and Selly Park School thoroughly enjoyed learning how to build the Raspberry Pi, with many expressing a strong interest in a career in robotics and computer science.
For more information on our outreach, read a recent article about the program on the STEM ambassador website.
In the spring, we teamed up with oSTEM, CSS and BEaMS to host a Women In Tech coffee morning as a part of Birmingham’s Diversity in Digital Festival to address the lack of diversity in the digital sector. We thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with these great societies and look forward to maintaining and building a positive relationship with them in the future.
On 27 February, in the lead up to International Woman’s Day, WISE had the privilege to invite Dr Maria Velissariou to talk at our second WISE Inspire event.
Alongside our other speakers, we interviewed Maria with the universities science magazine SATNAV, see an excerpt of her interview here.
We also had amazing talks from Deborah Harris, Jes Bartlett and Sarah Cosgriff. The event was a success and we heard from strong, independent and inspiring women who have overcome the challenges that they faced in the industry as well as academia.
We finished the year with our biggest social yet, a cocktail masterclass, alongside other socials throughout the year. We plan to organise similar events in the upcoming year, so keep an eye out for announcements on our social media!
All of our hard work led to us winning two awards at the LES (College of Life and Environmental Sciences) awards – an Equality and Diversity award and a Collaboration Award for our WISE inspire events and outreach – as well as being nominated for multiple EPS awards.
The 2018/19 committee have had an amazing time organising and holding our events and outreach this year, and want to thank all of our members and the university for supporting us. We look forward to the next year of success!