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 WISE Young Professionals’ Board
Hollie Wright, Heriot-Watt University and Renishaw Research Engineer, was invited to become a member of the WISE Young Professionals’ Board, attending her first Board Meeting at Rolls Royce, Derby in February 2019. Hollie began her studies in the CDT in 2016
and her project title is ‘Frequency-comb metrology
for manufacturing: developing dual-comb distance metrology concepts and applications’.
Hollie explains more about this role:
“The WISE Campaign is an organisation which works with businesses and education providers to support the recruitment, retention and promotion of women
in STEM. Within WISE is the Young Professionals’ Board, a group of twelve early career professionals who work alongside the main board to provide a different perspective on diversity issues, and to run special projects. I felt very privileged to be invited to join the Young Professionals’ Board for 2019 as diversity in STEM is something, I am very passionate about.
As a member of the Young Professionals’ Board,
I was expected to take a lead on one of the many projects the board ran. I chose to work on the essay competition – a project intended to inspire 10-15-year olds to consider a career in STEM. I partnered with Abigail Seager as the project lead; Abigail is a Senior Systems Engineer for the BBC and was also a new member of the YPB. Abigail and I agreed that previous
versions of the competition had not reached their full potential as they did not receive many entries and
most of the entrants were female. With that in mind,
we made several strategic changes. We reinvented
the project from an “essay competition” to The WISE Problem Solving Challenge 2019 to make it sound more exciting; we organised prizes to encourage entries;
and we posed a thought-provoking question which
we thought was more gender neutral than that posed
in previous years. In the end, we received more than double the number of entries from the previous year and an almost 50:50 split in the gender of the entrants! I am very proud of the work Abigail and I did running the Problem-Solving Challenge. I believe the key to creating a more diverse STEM workforce in the future is to tackle gender stereotypes in young people. I therefore greatly appreciated the opportunity to use the WISE platform to make a difference in something I am passionate about.
As well as running the Problem Solving Challenge, being a member of the Young Professionals’ Board granted me many other opportunities and experiences
I otherwise would not have received: I benefitted from countless networking opportunities, contributed to several other interesting projects, and gained the rare experience of being a member of a professional board. I am very grateful to WISE for giving me the opportunity, and to the CDT for supporting me and giving me the time and funding I needed to be an active member of the WISE Young Professionals’ Board.”
14 | Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics
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