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

2019/20 Year in Review

This year has been fantastic one for WISE! We held our very first collaborative event with oSTEM and BEaMS, continued our ‘WISE Inspire!’ Speaker series, expanded our award winning outreach scheme and collaborated more than ever.

By far our biggest event of the year, in collaboration with oSTEM and BEaMS, was Equal in STEM 2020. This conference style event consisted of multiple panels which discussed barriers that people may face in STEM and how they could be overcome through working together. Panels included: ‘Parenthood in STEM’, ‘Expectations of Role-models in STEM’, ‘How to be a Good Advocate and Ally’ and ‘Mental Health in STEM’. 13 speakers from various fields, backgrounds and career stages got involved to discuss these themes, and 171 people registered for the event including UoB students, pupils from local schools, STEM professionals from other institutions and a variety of STEM professionals from Birmingham. It was hugely successful thanks to our committee, our sponsor Caterpillar and the amazing oSTEM and BEaMS. The new WISE committee hopes to make this a yearly event.

Equal in STEM 1

We also held another ‘WISE Inspire!’ in Term 1. This was an informal evening of pizza and drinks where speakers talked about their careers in STEM and chatted to our members.

WISE inspire 1

Our award winning outreach scheme has expanded this year so that another local school could get involved! This has been made possible due to our hard working volunteers and outreach officers, and the generous alumni impact fund – a huge thank you goes out to them. This means our outreach scheme now runs in three schools across Birmingham, with over 60 volunteers. We’ve run more coding and engineering based activities this year, and hope to continue to expand the scheme in the future. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, committee members have also been making our outreach available online for schools to use, so that we can continue to have an impact on students in the community.

Collaborations with societies across campus was fantastic this year. We had a great time both academically and socially and thoroughly enjoyed all the events. In collab with Poynting Physical Society (PPS) and MathSoc, we kicked off the year with a Careers event involving a huge range of companies. We also worked with Women in Finance to bring together three Accenture focused career events – our lead sponsor this year. As well as this, oSTEM and BEaMS were fantastic in the organising of the conference and we had a great time raising money at an open mic night for Climate Coalition with PPS and thoroughly enjoyed a Selly Oak bar crawl with Neuroscience.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing sponsors and members! We can’t wait to continue and build on this year’s successes, to continue to dismantle barriers in STEM, provide role models for pupils in the community, and initiate collaboration across campus.

We ended the year with our annual AGM and have welcomed in the new committee of 2020/21:

Chair: Paige Ramsden

Vice-Chair: Dorottya Tényi

Secretary: Sarah Lloyd

Outreach Officers: Alice Rutter-Eley, Ellie Wigg and Weronika Wiesiołek

Engineering Rep: Verity Page

Thank you to the Alumni Impact fund for Students for sponsoring our #GirlsInSTEM outreach scheme!

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve successfully received funding from Alumni Impact Fund for students for the second year in a row for our award-winning outreach scheme! The growth of the scheme wouldn’t have been possible without their support last year and are very grateful to have the chance to continue to grow. We were also one of two societies to reach the double up stage, where we had the opportunity to have our fund doubled! Unfortunately, we missed out after a day-long poll that, in the end, was in favour of oSTEM haveing double funding for their STEM, LGBTQ and you conference. This was the closest competition yet for the double up stage, and the final vote was 51-49!  Congratulations to oSTEM, who’s project, which truly shows that STEM is for everyone, is very worthy of the extra funding.

With the funds we will receive, we’ll be able to buy more coding and robotics equipment so that we can run more advanced Python coding sessions with girls in the local community. We will also be able to extend our scheme into a third school, and send more volunteers than ever to volunteer to do outreach with our scheme. This means more UoB students will gain science communication and outreach experience, and be able to share their passion for equality and diversity in STEM.

With the scheme starting in the next week, we just wanted to take a minute to thank our sponsors, and celebrate another year of showing girls science is for them, too!

WISE welcomes our new lead sponsor -Accenture!

WISE is very excited to announce our lead sponsor for 2019/20, Accenture!

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We have two events confirmed with Accenture in the Autumn term, with more to be announced shortly.

On the 14th of October, we will host a welcome event with Accenture, and on the 12th of November, Accenture will come to the University to host an Employability/Application help session. Both events will give our members a chance to learn about careers in consultancy, and to hear about the incredible opportunities available with Accenture.

Throughout the year we plan to run internship events, industry visits and conferences with the support of Accenture. We’re so grateful for our new collaboration and can’t wait to see what this new relationship brings to WISE.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions — underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network — Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 482,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

WISE in 2018/19

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!

Prof Oreilly

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.

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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!

cocktail pic

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!

Best wishes,

WISE