Lockdown, but full steam ahead for WISE

Over the summer, our committee members worked hard to secure funding for the many events and outreach planned for the year ahead. We secured funding from our previous sponsor Accenture, and were awarded a grant from The Royal Biochemical Society. On top of these successful applications, we successful applied for funding as part of the University’s Alumni Impact Fund for Students. This money is vital, even more so during a pandemic, to ensure our outreach scheme and society events can continue. On behalf of everyone at WISE, we would like to thank all our sponsors for their generous support!

On the theme of great news, we are happy to welcome three new committee members to our society. The newest additions to the WISE committee are:

Treasurer: Nikita Constantia
Placement Officer: Alex Webb
Publicity Officer: Eleanor Curry

After quickly settling in to the society, Alex has already collated a useful set of resources on our website for those searching for placement opportunities, with plans to hold industry focused workshops and speaker events next semester. Eleanor has transformed our social media and hosted an entertaining collaboration social with the Women In Medicine (WIM) society. Nikita has been working hard to keep our finances in check and has aided in the organisation of future events.

placement website promotion

This year WISE Inspire was held in a virtual format featuring talks from 4 interesting speakers from the University of Birmingham STEM Colleges, including:

  • Professor Cristina Lazzeroni – who is based in the School of Physics and Astronomy and is a professor in Particle Physics
  • Maria Sharif – who is based in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences and is completing a PhD student in Cancer Sciences
  • Dr Donka Novovic – who is a visiting professor in Mechanical Engineering and Rolls-Royce Plc Engineering Fellow in Manufacturing
  • Professor Helen Cooper – in the School of Biosciences and is a professor in Mass Spectrometry

With insightful talks from a diverse range of industrial and academic backgrounds, it was great to have more than 30 attendees attend our webinar and benefit from the useful advice shared for future women in STEM. The Zoom breakout rooms provided an opportunity for networking, which was a refreshing break after months of social distancing and muted microphones!

wise inspire 2020 poster

Sadly, the impending lockdown meant a last-minute cancellation of our in-person outreach activities. This was a disappointing start to the term, but we didn’t let it stop us. We made the move to virtual outreach, with society members recording a series of mini lectures and at-home experiments. Virtual Demonstrations will be provided to local schools next semester, along with experimental booklets to ensure school pupils are still able to benefit from the collaboration with WISE during the pandemic. We hope our in-person outreach will resume in the New Year but our move to a virtual format has opened up new opportunities for WISE, which could enable us to work with more schools and from further afield in the future!

In the midst of all of this, our calendar has been pretty packed too! From quizzes to pumpkin carving, our members haven’t let the pandemic impact their social life. As previously mentioned, our taskmaster themed social with WIM was a triumph along with our WISE pub quiz night. As a finale to the term, our members came together for a Christmas themed film night featuring the festive classic The Holiday. Many mince pies and glasses of mulled wine were consumed!

virtual event adverts

it’s definitely been a busy term! We’d all like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and we’re look forward to sharing news of the exciting events we have planned for next semester. Stay tuned for more socials, speaker events, the EPS Running Festival and outreach opportunities!

See you in the New Year,

Ellie Wigg
Outreach Officer

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