Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Promoted by the UN, this day is dedicated to supporting women and girls in STEM subjects, encouraging girls to engage with science, and addressing the social and economic barriers that hold them back. To mark this occasion, we have interviewed six students at Coventry University about their studies, their experiences as women in STEM, their aspirations, and their favourite songs. All of these students are recipients of Coventry University Ada Lovelace Scolarships, which are granted every year to thirty first year female undergraduates studying a variety of STEM subjects. A truly brilliant bunch!

Faiza

Computer Science

Why did you pick your subject? What do you love about it?

I picked my subject because I was advised by a lot of people not to. Every time I would express interest in a degree in computer science, I would always get comments from people about it being male dominated and it not actually being a useful degree for females. So, I chose this subject because it has always been interesting to me and also to prove to people that females can succeed in any subject, no matter what gender it is dominated by.

And why did you pick Coventry University?

From all the local university open days I went to, this seemed like the most promising university for computer science students. In addition to this, I noticed that Coventry were very keen on including females in their STEM courses compared to other universities, which is also why I chose Coventry University.

How’s your time at university been so far?

So far, my time at university has been great. I’ve made a lot of friends both in and outside of my course and I also enjoy the different modules we’re learning. There’s a good mix of lecture time and lab sessions and the course content is also interesting; hence I’m enjoying it.

Dream job or career?

My dream job would be to become an Air Traffic Controller.

Is there anyone in STEM that inspires you – a teacher, a famous scientist etc.?

One person who really inspires me is Alan Turing due to his heavy contribution to the enhancement of technology and cryptology. Also, Ada Lovelace is an inspiration for me too, especially because she was a mathematical genius and also the first computer programmer!

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. In the UK, choosing scientific A-level subjects (which happens when students are around 16) is an important prerequisite to study a STEM-related field at university. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Don’t worry about the subjects being male dominated or even about the difficulty of the subject. With the right amount of interest and effort, you’ll be able to outdo your own expectations. And make sure to study whatever it is that you want without any kind of fear or doubt!

Do you think your experience in STEM has been more negative (or more positive!) compared to the experience of male students on your course?

While I would love to be positive, I have to say it has been slightly negative compared to male students at times. It is only in specific lessons or with specific teachers though as the male students do seem to be prioritised more. However, this is not the case with all tutors and modules and in general aside from a few occurrences, I’d say my experience has been similar to that of male students.

Can you tell us a little bit about a project or a topic on your course which you found particularly interesting?

In my first semester, I had to work on a project with my group. For this project we had to program a chatbot, which is a computer program that simulates a conversation with humans. Some examples include Siri and Alexa. It was really interesting to be able to program something people use on a regular basis, and it really made me appreciate the amount of effort companies put into these sorts of products.

And finally… what’s your theme song?

By theme song, I assume you mean an inspirational song? If so, it would definitely have to be Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

Tiana

Aerospace Systems

Engineering

Why did you pick your subject? What do you love about it?

I have always wanted to be a pilot but I also was aware of how much it costs for flight hours. Not only did I want to learn about aircrafts, I wanted to make sure that I was the best pilot that I could be. Being able to know the aircraft and understand what I could do with it interested me in great ways. I love that my course gives me this opportunity. I can understand theoretically and practically.

And why did you pick Coventry University?

Coventry University was at the top of the list for mechanical engineering. This stood out to me as is had never heard of the university before. I love to be a part of growth and studying at Coventry would make me a part of that.

How’s your time at University been so far?

So far, university has been a mixture of the good and bad but I can’t wait for the rest of the time to come.

Dream job or career?

My dream career is to be a commercial pilot. I love flying and I love travelling to different countries, experiencing different cultures.

Is there anyone in STEM that inspires you – a teacher, a famous scientist etc.?

I am inspired by all the female engineers that have accomplished little and big things already. Without them, women in STEM would not be a common thing and make some girls like me push themselves as hard. I read about Katherine Johnson all the time, her success is vital to my attitude and work ethic especially during my time here at university.

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. In the UK, choosing scientific A-level subjects (which happens when students are around 16) is an important prerequisite to study a STEM-related field at university. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Don’t let anyone determine what your future will hold. I had studied Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and English Literature as A levels. I had a difficult decision to make between Further Mathematics and English Literature to continue with in year 13 as it was starting to become a struggle for me. I went with my intuition and stuck with English Literature, simply because I had to play with my strengths, and at the end, it made me stand out amongst the rest of my peers. Research will be your best option and choose what makes you happy what you enjoy studying because it all condenses down when you’re at university studying one subject and not four.
Do you think your experience in STEM has been more negative (or more positive!) compared to the experience of male students on your course?

To be completely honest, I think my experience has been more positive. Nowadays, people love to change and it makes them look good; people in this modern technical world, want women doing things men can do. Engineering is more fun when a woman can do it, is what I think. I have had more positive acknowledgment as a female engineer because it stands out and common is boring, I believe. So far, I have impressed people that are involved in STEM, such as: Formula in Schools, STEM Competitions and many more just because I stood out as a female.

Can you tell us a little bit about a project or a topic on your course which you found particularly interesting?

One of my modules last semester was Introduction to CAD. I found it interesting because it was 100% coursework, which was somewhat a group work. Team work had seemed harder than thought especially when each person has different schedules and most importantly, strengths. It brought us to learn about each other and spend a significant amount of time each other. This was good because engineers have to work with other engineers to make something work, ideas don’t just come from one person, it’s a group effort.

And finally… what’s your theme song?

My theme song is The Climb by Miley Cyrus. It explains the journey that I have been on and exemplifies the work you have to put in to get the outcome that you want.

Bella

Mathematics

Why did you pick your subject? What do you love about it?

I have a passion for numbers. Throughout my previous studies I have shown to be good at Maths and I want to make an impact within the field.

And why did you pick Coventry University?

I picked this university because of the wonderful resources and the research currently going on here. The lecturers intrigued me when I met them at an Open Day and the method of teaching is very important to me when it comes to learning.

How’s your time at university been so far?

The modules we’ve learnt about so far have kept me stimulated and engaged. It is challenging, yet fun. The social life at Coventry Uni is also really great and I have made some lifelong friends here. Each day I’m getting better at being a student and keeping up with revision and work.

Dream job or career?

Statistician.

Is there anyone in STEM that inspires you – a teacher, a famous scientist etc.?

Alan Turing interests me because he wasn’t accepted very much into his community but still managed to create something that changed the world, despite his situation.

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. In the UK, choosing scientific A-level subjects (which happens when students are around 16) is an important prerequisite to study a STEM-related field at university. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

I would tell my 16-year-old self to aim higher and do more STEM-related subjects and activities.

Do you think your experience in STEM has been more negative (or more positive!) compared to the experience of male students on your course?

I think that there isn’t much segregation between men and women in STEM, however the Ada Lovelace grant has helped me in continuing my studies and excelling unencumbered on my career path.

Can you tell us a little bit about a project or a topic on your course which you found particularly interesting?

I am currently doing a module on classical mechanics and I find it very interesting to learn about the pioneers of maths and science and the fundamental theorems and equations that were revolutionary in their time, but seem trivial these days. This simplicity emphasises how little we understand about our universe today, from galaxies and black holes to quarks and mesons. There are million dollar questions that seem unsolvable which will, in due time, become obvious and elementary to us.

And finally… what’s your theme song?

I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one song to describe me and live my life by. I’d like to think that I’m more complex than three minutes of music (but if I did, it would probably be an instrumental).

Jessica

Mathematics

Why did you pick your subject? What do you love about it?

Mathematics is one of my passions and everything that has to do with it makes me want to explore and learn even more. It’s like a kid in a playground!

And why did you pick Coventry University?

The main reasons to choose Coventry University was for their quality of learning and environment. This institution offers students the perfect conditions to learn. Also the focus that the institution has on employability had a huge impact on my decision. Envisioning a career while studying gives you motivation to achieve great things.

How’s your time at university been so far?

My time here so far was perfect, everything exceeded my expectations, I couldn’t be happier.

Dream job or career?

My dream job is in research, where I could aspire to great findings in the field of Mathematics.

Is there anyone in STEM that inspires you – a teacher, a famous scientist etc.?

I feel that all my female teachers from previous schools had a strong impact on my choosing for this field of studies, it made me feel that females can accomplish anything as long you work hard. I can say that all my female teachers were all my inspiration.

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. In the UK, choosing scientific A-level subjects (which happens when students are around 16) is an important prerequisite to study a STEM-related field at university. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Honestly, being a female in STEM field you have to actually be brave enough to go through the stereotype judgement and not think that you are defined by a gender. We women are more than that and we should fight for what we want.

Do you think your experience in STEM has been more negative (or more positive!)
compared to the experience of male students on your course?

I think all of the students have different experiences, I don’t feel like male students have a more positive experience that the female. It depends on the person, a strong person has the ability to change negative experiences in lessons of life, hoping and fighting to achieve something positive in the journey.

Can you tell us a little bit about a project or a topic on your course which you found particularly interesting?

Incredibly as it is, is the topic that I’m less comfortable at the moment, probabilities. This topic has the potential to solve so many problems in real life, the more I study it the more I feel fascinated by it.

And finally… what’s your theme song?

My theme song is Fight Song by Rachel Platten, it empowers me when I’m down.

Bethany

Motorsport Engineering

Why did you pick your subject? What do you love about it?

From an early age I’d always be fiddling with things and trying to fix them. I never really knew what path to take but I knew it would be through the STEM route. It wasn’t until I came to look at colleges and I saw the motorbike and car mechanic courses and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I never thought I’d connect to something like I have with cars and motorbikes. For any enthusiast they’ll understand it’s not just a passion or hobby, it is a lifestyle. Just being able to put a sprinkle of your own personality into your vehicle just brings so much joy and I can’t wait until the day I can create my own.

Motorsport is such a fast-paced environment which I love, I love the challenges it’ll bring me, I love being able to be hands on in the middle of the excitement, to be part of a hard-working team. Of course, every enthusiast knows part of the love is the noise, and the happiness and thrill it brings us.

And why did you pick Coventry University?

As soon as I visited Coventry University the facilities amazed me. They provide the best possible facilities to allow STEM students to be hands on. Unique facilities such as the wind tunnel made by Mercedes Petronas left a good impression.

Another main reason was the welcoming arms Coventry University had for its female applicants. There’s absolutely no stigma around female engineers, and I found during the open days and through experiencing it in my first year, you get accepted just like one of the guys.

How’s your time at university been so far?

I was really worried about coming to university. Not being independent, not being able to cook (ready meals it is!) and the fear of not fitting in. Up to this point I have made an awesome group of friends, my confidence has massively increased, and while the work is difficult, the support network has been amazing. It’s been a challenge, but I wouldn’t be who I am without the challenges I’ve faced, and I can’t wait for the next one.

Dream job or career?

My dream job is to become a test engineer or work as a mechanic in Formula One, MotoGP or even NASCAR. I would love to work my way up into a management role within a motorsport company. While becoming a keen promoter for women in STEM, I would also love to run my own automotive/motorsport business.

Is there anyone in STEM that inspires you – a teacher, a famous scientist etc.?

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, all three women who worked for NASA. These women battled the stigma of female engineers, all taking part in a key part of the ‘space race’. All three made a name for themselves while fighting for what they loved. It just proves that if you put your heart and soul into it and have confidence, you can do anything you want to. It was a massive leap for women, and now, slowly by slowly women in STEM have become more prolific, though still under-represented.

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. In the UK, choosing scientific A-level subjects (which happens when students are around 16) is an important prerequisite to study a STEM-related field at university. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

To always believe in yourself. Have confidence in yourself and trust yourself and your answers. If you dream it, you can do it and not to listen to people if they disagree with your life choices. Also, listen to people when they tell you you’re smart, don’t be put off by the difficult tasks and don’t fear failure, failure makes us stronger. Nobody is perfect.

Do you think your experience in STEM has been more negative (or more positive!) compared to the experience of male students on your course?

Over time the experiences have positively increased, I feel equally accepted and I know I’m getting the same opportunities as the male students on my course.

Can you tell us a little bit about a project or a topic on your course which you found particularly interesting?

The engine strip! I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited, after not working on an engine in over a year I’d been looking forward to getting hands on in some work and to take a break from the theory side. We had to strip an engine and rebuild it in our tutor groups in the quickest time. Safe to say, we worked hard as a team and got in a quick time and in turn I know for sure it boosted by confidence.

And finally… what’s your theme song?

8 Mile – as it’s a story of someone reaching for and achieving their dreams despite having a disadvantaged background with seemingly unsurmountable reasons why they couldn’t achieve.

Teresa

Geography and

Natural Hazards

Why did you pick your subject? What do you love about it?

I chose this course because of its connection to both Human and Physical Geography. I loved having a Human Geography module in the first semester, because it gave me a better insight on what communities and governments can actually do to prevent, mitigate and prepare for hazards. I also enjoy the modules that are related to Physical Geography, from geology to landforms and the hazards themselves.

And why did you pick Coventry University?

Mainly because of the course, it has focus in other areas beside the Physical part of Geography.

How’s your time at university been so far?

It has been good. It is easy to get to know people and also the university offers extensive support.

Dream job or career?

Still don’t know.

Is there anyone in STEM that inspires you – a teacher, a famous scientist etc.?

Not really.

According to UNESCO data, only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. In the UK, choosing scientific A-level subjects (which happens when students are around 16) is an important prerequisite to study a STEM-related field at university. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Just breathe. It will get better.

Do you think your experience in STEM has been more negative (or more positive!) compared to the experience of male students on your course?

I don’t know. I don’t have a male perspective either on life or on the course.

Can you tell us a little bit about a project or a topic on your course which you found particularly interesting?

The fact that Geographers have the chance to be members of the Royal Geography Society and their RGS-IBG Ambassador Training scheme. It is a really good way to enjoy Geography in another level.

And finally… what’s your theme song?

It has to be Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn by Maurice Ravel.

Write a comment:

*

Your email address will not be published.

© Copyright Coventry University. All rights reserved.    Search :