Q&A students in STEM: Isobel
Careers in Science I think that everyone should be involved in STEM activities from a young age; the only reason we have to emphasise girls' involvement is because, when we are growing up, we are subconsciously pushed away from STEM by the types of toys and games aimed at girls.
Why do you think it is important for girls to get involved in STEM activities from a young age?
I think that everyone should be involved in STEM activities from a young age; the only reason we have to emphasise girls' involvement is because, when we are growing up, we are subconsciously pushed away from STEM by the types of toys and games aimed at girls, in comparison with those aimed at boys.
What STEM activities have you been involved in while at Queen Anne's and how do you think they will shape the direction you follow after you leave?
"In class, it is clear that teachers have a real passion for their subjects and want to share what they find so interesting about them."
While being at Queen Anne’s, I have taken part in GCHQ CyberFirst security summer courses, computer science talks at Eton, and STEM club when I was in the younger years. I am a digital leader at the school; Tech Thursday is a lunchtime help-desk for computer problems where I am a student representative. The school have run a cyber ethics symposium with UTC Reading and we have also taken part in a hackathon there. Apps for Good was a great Saturday morning activity learning about the different aspects that go into app making.
How have the teachers at Queen Anne’s got you inspired about STEM?
Teachers, the computer science department in particular, are great at making us aware of a vast opportunities, such as the CyberFirst courses, IDEA award scheme and the Cyber Security Challenge EPQ, which I plan on doing in the near future.
What inspired you to become involved in STEM?
In class, it is clear that teachers have a real passion for their subjects and want to share what they find so interesting about them. They talk around the subject, which gives us insight into areas that we might never have even heard of. It was not a conscious decision for me to do three STEM A-Levels, but I realise now that it was because the subject matter is innovative and it keeps me interested in ways that other subjects have failed to.
How important was it to see real scientist/companies working?
My work experience at SAP and Microsoft was incredibly useful in expanding my understanding of the vast variety of ways that it is possible to be part of a technology company. Speakers that have come to the school, such as some of the women who work at Volume, an experiential AI company, have been key in opening my eyes to the possible career options in the world and helping me focus on the aspects of STEM that interest me.
How has Queen Anne’s school contributed to aiming high in an often male-dominated culture?
Learning in an all-girls environment removes that "can't do" attitude that many girls seem to gain when it comes to STEM subjects, particularly when it comes to things like coding. At Queen Anne's, I have never been told that I am not capable of doing something, especially not ‘because I am a girl’. All leadership positions within the student body are obviously filled by girls and at no point are we made to feel as though we are less likely to achieve something because of our sex.
Also, the majority of guest speakers that come to the school are women who have done amazing things within their chosen fields, emphasising that, if we have a passion for something. we really can do anything. To me, I don’t see our “male-dominated” culture as an issue, I see it as a challenge.