Pro-Vice Chancellor, it is my great pleasure to present Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon for the award of Doctor of Science in recognition of her extraordinary commitment to fostering a diverse community in science, technology, engineering, and maths, collectively known as STEM. Anne-Marie is a computer scientist, a mathematician, and a social entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and CEO of Stemettes, a social enterprise that inspires and supports girls and non-binary young people to pursue careers in STEM and in TEAM, which integrates the arts into STEM.
Anne-Marie was born, in her own words, “just a few months after Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web”. She grew up in Walthamstow, East London. She is the eldest of five siblings. As a child, Anne-Marie was fascinated by how things worked. She liked to take things apart. Her curiosity was encouraged by her parents. They were patient even when she took apart a video cassette, then the VCR itself, in trying to understand how the images of Disney’s The Lion King showed up on the screen.
From a very young age, technology had a central role in Anne-Marie’s life. As a child, her favourite toy was databases – she created databases for herself to play with. At age nine, she taught her ophthalmologist father, and her father’s colleagues, how to use PowerPoint. At age eleven, she passed A-level computing, and was the youngest girl ever to do so. At age 20, she received her Masters degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford. After university, she held technical positions at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard and Deutsche Bank.
In 2012, Ann-Marie was a panellist at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, where she unexpectedly found herself surrounded by more than 3000 women who love technology, just like her. This was a profound experience that inspired her to co-found Stemettes in 2013. This was not a good career move, she was told. But she chose to pursue her vision of a diverse and balanced science and tech community. Today, Anne-Marie is the CEO of Stemettes. She is also known as the Head Stemette. Stemettes creates spaces for learning about technology, Science and innovation for girls, young women, and non-binary young people, supporting ages 5 to 25, through events, programmes, and online resources. These include workshops, hackathons, and mentorships, all at no cost to participants.
Stemettes is now more than 10 years old. It has reached more than 60,000 young people across Europe. It has held hundreds of events. It co-founded the Outbox Incubator, the world’s first technology incubator for adolescent girls. . Hundreds of young people are now part of the Stemette Society – a closed social network for Stemettes aged 13 –25.
What about the next 10 years? Anne-Marie hopes that Stemettes will no longer exist because the need will no longer be there. Ann-Marie was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to young women and STEM sectors. She served as the President of the British Science Association for 2022-2023. She currently sits on the Council of Research England. She released her book ‘She’s in CTRL’ in 2022. She was voted the ‘Most Influential Woman in Tech in the UK in 2020’ by Computer Weekly.
Pro-Vice Chancellor, in recognition of her impact in inspiring, supporting, and promoting the next generation of young women and non-binary young people in STEM, I present to you Anne-Marie Imafidon, who is eminently worthy to receive the Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.