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: Dorrotta 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