Wrexham Glyndwr Academics share their experiences as women in STEM

A forensics student examining a skeleton's remains

Date: 2022

Three Wrexham Glyndwr University academics have shared their experiences and advice for those hoping to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for Women and Girls in Science Day (February 11).

Three ladies who are university academics

Amy Rattenbury, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science says a willingness to ask questions and perseverance is key to succeeding.

She said: "I have been very privileged to go into an area of science where I am surrounded by successful women. They have been my inspiration, my teachers, mentors and are now my students. Success for me is seeing those I have taught learn about a subject that fascinates them and go on to get jobs that they love.

"STEM careers aren’t about being the cleverest person in the room. Of course, a natural affinity for science and maths can help but many great scientists are those that don’t understand something at first.

"The problem solvers, multi-taskers, ones wiling to ask difficult questions and those that will keep pushing until they get an answer are the ones that succeed. Ultimately whatever pathway you decide to take, do it because it makes you happy, not because someone told you that you should."

Paige Tynan, Technical Demonstrator (Science), faced a number of obstacles to get where she is today and encourages others not to give up when facing difficulties.

She said: "Growing up I was actively discouraged from pursuing science. In school, I was told there was not a future for me in science. I was going to study chemistry at A Level but no longer believed in myself, so I studied Childcare instead.

"When I finished college and got rejected from the five universities I applied for to study paediatric nursing. I joined WGU through clearing and studied Forensic Science.

“I am now working full-time as a laboratory technician and have also taught a number of science modules to undergraduates. To have succeeded in science means a lot and I hope to be role model to those who have been told they aren’t quite good enough or they won’t succeed because they are good enough and they can succeed.

"My advice would be to just go for it and don’t look back. If you have been told you aren’t good enough, you absolutely are good enough! Some of the coolest scientists I have met had such a rocky start to their journey in STEM. So if anybody tells you, you can’t do something or you’re not good enough; prove them wrong!"

Julie Mayers, Lecturer in Computing, urges other women and girls not to see their gender as a barrier to the career of their dreams.

She said: "Having the confidence to prove that gender is not a barrier, that we, as women, can be as successful as we want to be.

"Pursue the career that you want to do, take the path that you want to take, and don’t be dissuaded against achieving your dreams. Be inspired, and have confidence in your ability. Success is hard work, but with hard work you will be successful."

For more information on STEM careers and courses at Wrexham Glyndwr, visit Faculty of Social and Life Sciences.