CELEBRATING WOMEN & GIRLS IN SCIENCE

CELEBRATING WOMEN & GIRLS IN SCIENCE

Started by a female founder and rooted in skincare science, supporting women and girls in the field has always been really important to us here at Aurelia London.

Did you know however that gender inequality is still pretty common in the sciences? In 2020, the UN (United Nations) found that less than 30% of researchers worldwide and only 35% of students currently enrolled in STEM fields are female. 

Which is why we’re celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science by shining a light on a few of the trailblazers who are leading the way, inspiring more of us to consider a career path in STEM fields that we might not have done before. 

Dr Zoe Williams 

NHS GP, Medical Broadcaster and TV Presenter
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I have been fascinated by the wonder of the human body ever since I was a little girl. In fact, on my third birthday I declared to my parents and my grandma (who was a midwife) that I would grow up to be a doctor. 

What do you love most about what you do?

To me, the only thing more interesting than the human body is people. So to have a job that means I get to meet so many people from different walks of life, while constantly learning more about the mind and body, all while positively contributing towards their health and lives is perfect for me.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

I would strongly encourage girls and women who are interested or passionate about science to seriously consider pursuing a career in the field. Women make fantastic scientists and to be in a field that improves lives is so rewarding.


Cheryl Woodman

Award-winning Skincare Formulator 
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I read science books for fun. I spend my weekend mornings investigating journal articles and I love it. I am a science geek. But It wasn’t always this way. While I studied science at university, my love really began when adult acne and ridiculously oily skin hit me out of nowhere in my twenties. It was confidence crushing. I felt lost, hopeless and would even go to the gym with make-up on.

What do you love most about what you do?

After a pharmacist told me I would just have to accept and live with it, which was like a dagger being plunged into my heart, I stubbornly said no, no, no. Over the next few years I began specialising in the science of skincare, retraining as a skincare formulator and winning awards for my work. And yes, I finally conquered adult acne and oily skin.

I now own my own business, Honesty For Your Skin, where I help others get to the root cause of their skin conditions through one-to-one consultations. I live for seeing real-life results in my SkinCoachees. It’s not just the visible acne breakouts or rosacea flares which heal, it’s the emotional impact too. To see someone’s confidence come back gives me unreal job satisfaction.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

There is honestly no limit to what you can do with a science degree. You can become an ‘expert nose’ at a fragrance house, you can specialise in vaccine research, you can work in skincare or even on the science of chocolate. To any girl or woman considering a career in science I say don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out in the beginning, experience is how you discover your passion. Get started, get experience and evolve. Your dream career will follow.


Tamar Samuels (L) & Vanessa Rissetto (R)

Registered Dieticians and Health & Wellness Coaches
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

TS: I’ve always been fascinated by how food impacts health after having a long history of food sensitivities and GI issues. I realised early on how important diet was to my energy and mental clarity and fell in love with the science behind it all. After seeing the lack of nutrition access and knowledge for children and families in Harlem, I decided to pursue a career as a nutritionist full time.

VR: I was helped by a registered dietician who I felt made nutrition easy to understand. After that I thought it would be amazing to empower and help people just like she helped me.

What do you love most about what you do? 

TS: I love solving the puzzle of health and supporting people to live their best lives. Each person I help take care of their health can then go out and have a more positive impact on their circle of people. That reinforced positivity reaches far beyond my office. 

VR: Every day is a new day. I get to talk to so many interesting people.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering entering into a science-based career or passion?

TS: Go for it! Women in general are more intuitive and tend to be more in touch with their bodies, which I think makes them especially great in the health sciences. 

VR: Start by doing your research and talk to as many people as you can!


Rosemary Ferguson

Nutritionist, Naturopath, Functional Medicine Practitioner and British Vogue Contributor 
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

It’s always been in the background of my life, even as a child I grew up around holistic and alternative medicine. I would say the interest accelerated when I was modelling, travelling a lot and becoming a mum. So after I had my three girls I decided to go back to college!

What do you love most about what you do?

I would say my clinic – it is the core of what I do. I never know what’s coming through the door, every case is so different and unique to each person therefore it is always challenging me. It is so rewarding when you really help people and make them feel brand new again.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

GO FOR IT! I love what I do. It’s an ever-changing field and there is new research all the time. Study hard and study well. Don’t blag it, learn it inside-out as you go.   


Dr Somi Igbene

Biomedical Scientist and Registered Associate Nutritionist [ANutr]
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I’ve known since childhood that I wanted a career in science. I initially wanted to be a medical doctor but I changed my mind. I studied biomedical sciences and finally settled on becoming a registered nutritionist.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love helping people improve their health. It gives me so much joy and happiness when my clients reach their goals; their transformation from self-doubt and sadness to self-confidence and joy is always amazing to watch. Their wins are my wins and that keeps me going.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

I would say go for it, the sky is your limit! As long as science is your passion and you are in for the greater good, it will be worth it.


Sophie Bertrand 

Nutritionist and Author
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I decided to pursue a career in nutrition after completing my undergraduate degree in psychology. I had a very disordered relationship with food growing up and wanted to combine my degree level knowledge with further education in nutrition to help others and be the best version of myself also.

What do you love most about what you do?

What I love most about my job is the engagement and relationships I have with other people. Instagram has been an incredible platform for me to build my business and I love helping individuals build a healthy relationship with food. Showing people that food can be nourishing, fun, delicious and energising.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

For any woman wanting to enter into a science-based career I would say go for it! If you want it, work for it. Show them what you can do!


Esta

Biochemistry Student
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I have always loved science and maths. I was that kid that was constantly asking why and how things worked, so I knew from a young age that I wanted to study science. From spending three years learning about various aspects of the discipline I became intrigued with the infection mechanisms of different pathogens, in particular viruses. Especially in today’s climate, it is why I want to continue studying virology now and have a career as a virologist in the future.

What do you love most about what you do?

What I love the most about what I do is the ability to still help people while only being a student. I’ve spoken to a lot of people that have misapprehensions or just want some clarification on what’s currently going on in the world. I’m grateful that I’m able to put some people’s minds at ease. I also love that the science field is ever-evolving – there are always new debates to be had. 

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

To any girl or woman considering to enter a science-based career I would say surround yourself with excellence and never underestimate your capabilities!


Kimberley Wilson

Psychologist and Author of ‘How to Build a Healthy Brain’
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

My current work came about through a combination of personal interest (I have always loved to cook and eat!) and professional experiences. The short version is that I was working in prison mental health when a landmark study was published showing that improved nutrition could reduce violence in prison by 30%. Since then I have wanted to make this life-changing research available to more people.

Most people don’t think about the health of their brains until something goes wrong, but there is good evidence that nutrition and lifestyle interventions can prevent or delay the onset of conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Since these are our leading causes of death and disability, I think more people deserve to have access to this information.

What do you love most about what you do?

There is a very special thrill that I experience when someone starts to believe that they are worth caring about and that their life and happiness are worth fighting for. It’s like the moment in a movie where you think the hero has been knocked out but then they start to pick themselves up off the floor. I get to see the beauty of the human spirit in motion and it is utterly incredible.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science-based career or passion?

Science, fundamentally, is about honouring your curiosity. I think, to be curious about the world, or ourselves, is to be more fully alive.


Dr Emma Hepburn

Clinical Psychologist and @telegraphstella Columnist
How did you decide that this is the path you wanted to pursue?

I have always been interested in how brains work and people function. I became interested in clinical psychology when I was working in research after my psychology undergraduate degree. I was motivated to look at how I could apply the evidence and research to help people. 

What do you love most about what you do? 

The best part of my job is meeting a huge range of people from different backgrounds and hearing their stories. We work together to apply the science to help understand their stories in a formulation and think about ways forward to help with the difficulties they are experiencing. 

What would you say to any girl or woman considering entering into a science-based career or passion? 

Science is interesting and hugely beneficial to people. Science covers a huge range of topics and my job involves applying the science of brain functioning and mental health to help understand people’s experiences and know how to help them. Being able to understand and evaluate the science is a key skill for both the job itself but also a really beneficial life skill.

Look at the huge range of science based jobs out there and consider how these tie in with your interests and values. 


Dr Justine Kluk

Consultant Dermatologist & acne expert
How did you decide that this is path you wanted to pursue?

I had spots throughout my teens and twenties, which made me feel very self-conscious about how I looked. I was determined to understand why acne happens so I applied to medical school after my A-levels and trained to become a Dermatologist – a process that took over 13 years. My ambition was to open a skin clinic dedicated to all things acne. Just as important was that all care should be delivered in a kind and non-judgmental way, following my own experiences of being made to feel silly asking for help. I knew it was possible to do better and these days I have the pleasure of helping others with acne who find themselves in a similar position.

What do you love most about what you do?

There is nothing better than observing the change in confidence when spots start to clear and patients have learned the tools to look after and enjoy their skin.

What would you say to any girl or woman considering to enter into a science based career or passion?

Some of the other reasons I went into medicine have held up over time: 1. I would always have a job. There are never enough doctors and job security is something I feel incredibly grateful for. 2. I would be able to use my skills anywhere in the world. 3. Specialties like Dermatology offer good work-life balance and flexibility around raising children. I have a toddler and family is very important to me. 4. I would have the opportunity to keep learning for the rest of my life – a powerful motivator when we stay in our careers for 40+ years.


Are you a woman or girl in science or have you been inspired to consider a career in a STEM field after reading this? Visit STEM Learning to discover how you can nurture your or your daughters passion in the sciences.

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