Celebrating Women in Science 2021
February 11th marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This day was created with the aims of achieving full and equal access to science for women and girls all over the world, as well as further supporting gender equality and empowerment.
Here at Random42, we are committed to upholding this philosophy and are very lucky to have many inspiring women in our team who have built successful careers within science.
We would like to honour the significance of this day by celebrating Random42’s women in science, as they share their own experiences, inspirations, and thoughts on why celebrating and recognising women in science is so important.
Laura Price – Global Account Director
BSc (Hons) Biochemistry – The University of Birmingham
As a teenager, there was never a question in my mind that I would study anything other than science once I left school. Having an inquisitive mind that always needed an answer for everything was only heightened by fantastic Biology and Chemistry teachers at school. Since joining Random42 in 2016, the work we do in transforming complicated science into concise, visually stunning outputs has reminded me that now, more than ever, scientific education is of the utmost importance. In 2020 the world was faced with an unfathomable public health emergency and science was the only light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against COVID-19. It is the scientists and researchers; irrespective of gender, religion, or race, who have worked tirelessly together to accelerate the development of potential medicines to prevent or treat the virus. These professionals highlight the importance of inspiring young women and men to believe in the wonder of science.
Pooja Raval – Scientific Account Executive
BSc (Hons) Cognitive Science – University of Westminster
MSc Neuroscience – King’s College London
PhD Neuroscience – King’s College London
I had a huge interest in space from childhood – the stars, the moon – I wanted to be an astronaut! I was never discouraged or dissuaded by my family, especially my mum, who played a big part in encouraging me to always reach for the stars. Science was always my favourite subject in school, and particularly any lessons that focused on the brain, but I never really warmed to biology itself, and was not very good at it! This interest in the brain and how the human mind works landed me to pursue a degree in cognitive science, where I was surrounded by female supervisors and mentors who were beyond encouraging and so inspirational. Their support led me to reach further, and do a master’s and eventually, a PhD in neuroscience. During that journey, my supervisor and mentor was male, and he has been pivotal in helping me grow as a scientist and encouraging me, and the other female scientists in the lab, to have a voice in the scientific community – I know this is not always the case! I was lucky to be surrounded by incredible female, and male, friends, supervisors, mentors, and scientists during this time as I was growing as a female scientist – I even got to experience this across the ocean and meet other inspirational female scientists that are breaking the barriers in neuroscience, and science generally, at the moment. Today, at Random42, I still feel this support and encouragement as a woman in science. I think it is so important to celebrate the incredible women and girls in science and pave the way for future scientists to keep working hard and reaching for the stars!
Ana Beretsos – Junior Project Manager
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences – Newcastle University
My love for science came from several places. Luckily, I have never had to question if being a woman would hinder me in the field; in fact, I think some typically ‘female traits’ have helped. My grandparents met in a hospital (the heart surgeon and intensive care matron love story) so growing up a lot of dinner time stories had a medical theme. I dropped Ballet within 3 weeks at the age of 4 but playing with my grandad’s plastic heart never grew old, I knew what I wanted! As a child, my obsession with CSI highlighted my love of science. I have always questioned everything, and science answered and continues to answer that curiosity in me. It provides the logic and understanding I yearn for of why things are how they are. From school and university to working in a hospital and producing Life Science events, I realised one thing; women really support women in this field. I have found many outstanding women want to offer a helping hand to new female scientists. Even in a male-dominated field, the presence of inspirational and supportive women is apparent by the list of people I am thankful for, which is too long to write here. There really is a support network of girl power out there, and it is up to every woman in the field to keep that going.
Jordana Griffiths – Scientific Account Executive
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science – University of Sussex
MRes Biomedical Science – University of Southampton
PhD Cancer Immunology – University of Southampton
Since a young age, I LOVED science. It was always my favourite subject throughout school as it fuelled my inquisitive mind and provided answers that forever fascinated me, and still do! This excitement and passion led me to pursue a career in research where the people around me always supported me, albeit mainly men as unfortunately there is still a large gender imbalance in STEM subjects. This is why I was heavily involved in the surrounding schools’ STEM programmes throughout my PhD as I wanted to encourage and inspire the younger generation to pursue science as a subject regardless of gender. It is exciting to see how things are progressing in this field and days like today are important to highlight the success and achievements of female scientists.
Philippa Lazell – Account Manager
BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences – University of Leeds
Working in science has always been a goal of mine, but in what form I had no idea. My passion for science started at a young age inspired by my mum, who has worked as a health care professional my whole life. Learning about how things work, especially within the human body has always been a massive interest in my life from learning about how we breathe all the way down to the epigenetics that make us who we are. This year has been challenging for everyone, but seeing more and more people become inspired and interested in science has been one of the wins from a terrible situation. Helping to educate my friends on how vaccines and immunity work has become a part-time job for me, and I love it. I feel lucky to be working every day with a team of inspiring women who share my love for science. Hopefully, the work we do can inspire the next generation of females in science.
Eseelle Hendow – Scientific Account Executive
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Materials Science – The University of Manchester
MSc Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering – University College London
PhD Cardiovascular Biomedicine and Regenerative Medicine – University College London
I am from a very medical family and grew up with lots of conversations around the dinner table about medicine and health. This sparked my interest in the human body, and still to this day I watch every weird and wonderful documentary I can find. Working in the multidisciplinary field of biomaterials, it was always apparent to me how male-dominated materials and engineering is, and how important female role models within STEM are. Despite always having male supervisors, I am inspired by the women throughout history who have made invaluable contributions to the scientific field. I am a strong advocate that they should be recognised, and their names remembered. I have always believed that gender should not hold you back, and I always remember my Dad telling my sister and me that we could do anything our brothers could do. I hope that one day soon, contributions to science and engineering (and beyond!) will be recognised for what they are, and not influenced or overshadowed by gender.
Varsha Patel – Scientific Account Executive
BSc (Hons) Human Genetics – University College London
MSc Molecular Medicine – Imperial College London
MRes Biomedical and Translational Science – King’s College London
PhD Molecular Genetics – King’s College London
I have always been an inquisitive person and find it fascinating to learn about how the body works, which led me to choose science as a career. I completed my PhD in Molecular Genetics last year, before which I completed a BSc (Hons) in Human Genetics, an MSc in Molecular Medicine, and an MRes in Biomedical and Translational Science. I have also worked in academic research. Throughout my time at university and working in academia, most of my supervisors were strong, successful women, who inspired me to achieve greater heights as a woman in science. I became passionate about communicating science during my PhD, as I presented my work to a whole range of audiences, from scientists and clinicians at large international conferences to patients who contributed their tissue samples to my research. At Random42, I continue to communicate exciting science topics with a creative twist.
Gabriella Andriesz – Partnerships Director
Biomedical Science – Nottingham Trent University
MSc Clinical Drug Development – Queen Mary University of London
I am naturally a creative person, and a desire to pursue science was largely based on being able to positively impact the world (or…was it Grey’s Anatomy?!). After doing a BSc in Biomedical Science, MSc in Clinical Drug Development and time in the laboratory researching for my thesis – these creative aspirations were still present. Random42 intertwines the two aspects seamlessly, and this is something that I have always been in awe of. It’s a way to represent both sides, creative and scientific – to tell engaging stories about the burden of diseases and the methods used to treat them.
Jennifer Hunter – Scientific Account Director
BSc (Hons) Genetics – University of Glasgow
PhD Epigenetics and Reprogramming – University of Edinburgh
Growing up, I was fortunate to have family and friends who were supportive and put up with my constant questions, from space and how humans evolved to whatever film we were watching at that moment. Even now my friends will draw straws to see who ends up next to me at the cinema (time-travel ones are the worst)! From my high school biology teacher through to my PhD supervisor there has always been a largely male-driven influence in my scientific career, but I have been lucky enough to have personally been surrounded by encouraging mentors, both female and male, during those important stages and was never made to feel that my gender had any impact on my abilities. I was encouraged to believe that I could be whatever I wanted to be, to follow whichever dreams and goals I had, there was never a question of whether what I wanted was “a job for girls”. I was lucky because I know this is not always the case, which is evident from the gender imbalance in STEM subjects, particularly in higher positions. I think it is so important that we celebrate all the amazing contributions women have made to science and encourage everyone, male and female alike, to do their part to remove gender bias from the scientific community. We need to show future generations that if your passion is science, the only thing standing in your way should be your hard work, not your gender.
Elly Spreckley – Medical Director
BSc (Hons) Physiology and Pharmacology – University of Manchester
PhD Neuroendocrinology – Imperial College London
As a child, I always preferred science books to fictional stories. I remember some particularly fascinating ones with pop up body parts and the horrible science books that sparked my interest in science, particularly biology. My mum also used to work in a lab, so she probably went some way to influence my choices. After studying science at university, I realised that I wanted to pursue a career in medical writing; however, in order to follow this path, a PhD would be necessary. This was a hard decision that was fully supported and encouraged by my female supervisor. I went on to do a PhD in an area I had previously enjoyed studying, the neuroendocrine systems involved in obesity and appetite, which seemed quite relevant to the current obesity problem. After this, I worked for a science journal publication for a while before joining Random42, where I enjoy the balance between scientific writing and the more creative aspects of the job.
Lucy Roberts – Marketing Communications Director
BSc (Hons) Chemistry – The University of Sheffield
MSc Science Communication – The University of Sheffield
I was always an extremely inquisitive child who never stopped questioning the world around me. One thing that was almost always able to answer my incessant questioning was science! Throughout my time at school, this interest was encouraged and nurtured by various teachers. As I got older, I realised that scientific reasoning, supported with evidence, was the only answer that ever really satisfied my curiosity. Throughout my time at university, I discovered my passion for science communication, particularly sharing fascinating scientific discoveries with lay audiences. In my lifetime, I have never seen communicating science effectively be more critical than in 2020, where scientific experts were thrust into the media spotlight as the world sought answers to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am a big believer in the necessity of celebrating and supporting women in science at every level, and it has been really motivating and inspiring to see such a strong feeling of women supporting women throughout our industry and within Random42.