Key Transition Points - Personal Career Journey talks

Choosing a career in academia and work life balance

We have delivered a series of 'personal career journey' talks by women in STEMM departments for staff and students. This is an activity identified in the Athena SWAN action plan. We aim to hold at least one session each academic year consisting of 3 role models.

Below is the list of speakers (click on their name to enter their webpage for details of their research interests)

Dr Kemi Adeyeye, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Dr Emma Emanuelsson, Department of Chemical Engineering

Dr Elise Pegg, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Julie Barnett, Department of Psychology

Dr Elies Dekoninck, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr Begona Delgado-Charro, Senior Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology

Professor Karen Edler, Department of Chemistry

Professor Chris Griffin, Department of Psychology

Dr Momna Hejmadi, Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Dr Paula Kover, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Professor Furong Li, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Professor Cathryn Mitchell, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Professor Linda Newnes, Reader, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Semali Perera, Senior Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering

Dr Valeska Ting, Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering

Professor Alison Walker, Department of Physics

Dr Jane White

Dr Jun Zang, Reader, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

A list of points highlighted by the speakers:

  • Be prepared to put in hard productive work- it will be beneficial to you
  • Be good at what you do! Success is never sure but at least you will feel happy with yourself.
  • Explore other aspects of your research - it might be in your interest to diversify your research area
  • Look out for opportunities- if you have international links make the most of this in your career
  • If you want to gain promotion find out the criteria and work towards the standards- get help from your mentor
  • Do not be demotivated if you do not get promotion- get feedback and good advice - regain your confidence and apply again
  • Work with people you like - this might not always be possible but try to make the most of it
  • Work with people you trust - this is very important
  • Build a good support network of colleagues, collaborators, associates, family and friends
  • You must go with what you feel is best for you as a mum - sometimes part time working is not for you
  • If you are a mother try not to feel guilty if you are not always with your children
  • Approach different funding bodies- you might need to do so to find the one which will fund you/your research
  • Treasure every single opportunity in your career and make the most of it
  • Be a good citizen in your department/discipline
  • Find a good mentor - someone who is not your supervisor/manager
  • Get to know the correct people - they may be helpful in your career/life
  • Academic environment changing - keep yourself informed about developments
  • Keep yourself up-to-date with people in the department and developments in the University
  • If you have reached a cul-de-sac (dead-end) in your career move to a more favourable position
  • Learn to say no!
  • Get yourself elected onto committees which will be the most relevant/beneficial to your career goals
  • Nobody has it all. However, being realistic, practical and honest with yourself brings greater satisfaction

The participants gave good feedback. They felt encouraged and inspired by what they had heard. They learned that there are several ways to reach your goal and that sometimes a 'knock-back' or rejection can teach you to be more determined to achieve your career goal. Rejection was the spur that propelled some of the speakers to analyse what they were doing in their academic careers led other speakers to develop their research taking a different path which led to academic rewards. They also learned that being a 'good citizen' helps everyone and improves the culture in the department.

The feedback from speakers has been very favourable, having found it a very useful process.

Overall the speakers felt that it had been beneficial to share their thoughts, on choosing a career in STEMM and work/life balance, with the delegates who attended these talks.

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