Winchester Science Centre Proudly Supporting Black History Month South

Winchester Science Centre is proudly supporting Black History Month South 2016, which is part of a global movement to highlight and celebrate black history during the month of October every year. The local theme this year is 'Role Models' so we are delighted to showcase some of our amazing STEM Ambassadors from black and minority ethnic communities who are such positive examples of STEM professionals and are incredible role models for young people from all backgrounds.

This year we have also had the privilege of introducing STEM Ambassador Nadine Brody, from Mott MacDonald, to the Black History Month South organisers. This led to Mott MacDonald very kindly sponsoring part of Black History Month South 2016.

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Read a bit more about a few of our BME Ambassadors!

Nadine Brody, Mott MacDonald, Principal Transport Planner

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What does your role involve?

I build region-wide transport models in different countries to see how people get from one place to another and then assess whether new transport schemes are economically viable.

How did you get to where you are today? (early ambitions, education, career path)

In school I was good at maths, languages and arts. So my early ambition was to become an architect. Before going to University I decided to do an apprenticeship at an engineering firm first where I was working alongside civil engineers. It made me realise that studying civil engineering would give me far broader career opportunities and so I did. As a student I was fascinated by transport so I specialised in that area and that is where I am working now.

Who were your greatest supporters along the way?

My family, particularly my parents and friends have been by far my greatest supporters.

What were your biggest challenges?

With my quiet personality my biggest challenge has always been to ensure I'm not ignored. Building up confidence by talking in front of people has been the best way to tackle that.

What advice would you give to a young person to encourage their STEM ambitions?

STEM is so broad that it can open up so many opportunities and you really don’t have to be a super genius. You just need the interest, drive and commitment to learn and you’ll go a long way.

 

Matthew Wilde, BAE Systems – Maritime Services, Engineering Technician Apprentice

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What does your job involve?

A typical day for me has involved working on the latest Royal Naval vessels, to investigating how to preserve the structural history of Portsmouth Naval Base.

How did you get to where you are today?

My career within the company (BAE Systems) began when I was offered a position on the Advanced Apprenticeship scheme after completing two weeks of work experience. Since then, I have progressed onto the Engineering Technician Apprenticeship scheme where I will train to be a systems engineer.

Who were your greatest supporters along the way?

I have a fantastic support network that includes my peers, managers and mentors; all have supported me primarily through careers advice and providing great opportunities for my continuous development.

What were your biggest challenges?

It’s unique when great things are accomplished independently. Being an engineer will involve working alongside individuals of different backgrounds and personalities; this has been difficult at times but once overcome can produce amazing results.

What advice would you give to a young person to encourage their STEM ambition?

I was told that as an apprentice, my main job is to learn and absorb as much as possible; so that’s what I try and do. Part of being an apprentice is to be confident and ask relevant questions whenever possible. You won’t always succeed first time but it’s all part of the learning and developing stage and will shape you into a fantastic engineer!

 

Ese Ono-Sorhue, Armfield Limited, Development Engineer – Chemical

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What does your role involve?

I am responsible for developing engineering teaching equipment for universities, vocational study and colleges as well as teaching content for the equipment.

How did you get to where you are today? (early ambitions, education, career path)

Through hard work and support from family and teachers.

I studied chemical engineering (MEng) at the University of Aberdeen and chemical engineering at the University of Benin, Nigeria.

My career started in the oil & gas industry but after some time, I wanted more out of my career and moved to the education sector where I now come up with practical ways of educating engineers by taking fundamental engineering principles and allowing these to be taught practically.

Who were your greatest supporters along the way? My teachers/ lecturers/ family.

Through the years, I have had wonderful teachers that have believed in me and spotted a curiosity and potential in me.  

What were your biggest challenges?

Working in a male dominated environment, trying to have a career / going back to study after having a family.

What advice would you give to a young person to encourage their STEM ambitions?

I would say you can be anything you dream of; your only limitation is YOU. You’ve got to believe in yourself and of course work hard (do the best you possibly can).

 

Lilian Knight, Thales UK, Systems Engineer

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What does your role involve?

As a Systems Engineer my role is to ensure that all the different elements of a project work together so that we can deliver a product which meets the needs of the customer.

 How did you get to where you are today? (early ambitions, education, career path)

When I was at school I didn’t really have any career plans- I studied Physics, Chemistry, Maths and RS at A- level and continued on to study Physics at University. Engineering seemed the most obvious career path for me, as I wanted to be able to use my degree but I also liked the systematic and practical approaches used by engineers.

Who were your greatest supporters along the way?

My family has always been very supportive of my career; although neither of my parents are engineers, they both recognise it as a great industry to be in.

What were your biggest challenges?

I think my biggest challenge along the way has been making decisions about my career direction -with a degree in Physics there are so many options open to you!

What advice would you give to a young person to encourage their STEM ambitions?

STEM subjects can open doors to such a wide range of careers so go ahead and make the most of them!

 

Roopa Master-Coles, Winchester Science Centre, STEM Support Officer

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What does your role involve?

I co-ordinate special projects, help to maintain the website and support large STEM events.

How did you get to where you are today? (early ambitions, education, career path)

My early background is fairly non-scientific! I have run my own business for many years delivering social justice and social enterprise support. However, I have always loved science and astronomy and started volunteering at WSC supporting the Education Team. This gave me the most wonderful learning curve and led to my current role.

Who were your greatest supporters along the way?

My parents, who believed in education and taught me the value of hard work and my husband who encourages me to push my boundaries. But in terms of my science journey, I’ve received incredible support and guidance from everyone at WSC. The entire team is passionate about STEM, hugely knowledgeable and extremely willing to share information. I always feel scientifically nourished when I spend any time with them.

What were your biggest challenges?

Finding my path to science and astronomy against all expectations.

What advice would you give to a young person to encourage their STEM ambitions?

Don’t be held back by the fears and expectations of others.