The Girls School go STEM Speed Networking
Since women make up just over one-quarter of the UK’s Science, Tech, Engineering, and Maths workforce, Berkhamsted Girls (an independent girls’ school in Hertfordshire) is countering the outdated narrative that females don’t belong in STEM roles. From Women in Tech Panel talks to the Physics Fun Club, our female pupils have a myriad of opportunities to engage with successful women in STEM. Most recently, our senior girls met influential individuals in STEM at our annual speed networking event.
Pupils spent half of the event in a seminar where they heard from keynote speakers, Thomas Faulkner and Zoe Nicholls, who study and work in Civil Engineering. Thomas, an Executive Vice President for Operations at Skanska, spoke to pupils about his favourite part of the job, “working alongside amazing people”.
Zoe Nicholls’ speech was particularly inspiring since she was in the audience’s shoes not so long ago. “I studied at Berkhamsted from Pre-Prep to Sixth Form,” Zoe told the crowd, “I’m now a Structural Engineering and Architecture MA student at Sheffield University”. Zoe reassured pupils that not knowing what they want to do in the future is not a bad thing, “Just stay open to possibilities and pursue what you love”.
It was clear Zoe had never forgotten Berkhamsted’s core value of ‘serving others’ as she discussed her favourite part of her course: ensuring that the buildings she works on are ethical for the communities they exist in.
Pupils then headed to the Nash-Harris dining hall to speak one-on-one with a talented cohort of STEM ambassadors who each had different STEM jobs. One-minute pupils were speaking to Dentist Sophie Phillips before chatting to Ellie Casey about her career as a Senior Data Scientist at Marks and Spencer.
With only five minutes to talk to each guest, pupils didn’t waste a second before asking the ambassadors insightful questions about their jobs. From “How is your career helping others?” to “Did you always know you wanted a career in STEM?” Every pupil asked well-considered questions that helped them become more informed on what a STEM career entails.
We hope that an afternoon outside of the classroom interacting with successful people in STEM was not only a valuable chance to get our girls out of their comfort zone but a welcome reminder that they can pursue and enjoy STEM as much as their male peers.
*statistics via STEM Women*