Category: Women in STEM

New Year’s Honours

New Year’s Honours

Happy New Year! I hope everyone is looking forward to what the new year brings them, or at least what it brings once the hangover subsides…

With it being New Years Day it seemed appropriate to blog about the Women in STEM who have been awarded Honours this New Year’s. I wanted to know more about each individual so thought I’d research and add some flesh to their stories, allowing others to also find out more too. Rather than use titles or level of Honour to order them, I have simply ordered them by their surname:

Margherita Joan Biller; For services to Mathematics in Further Education. Margherita is Head of Mathematics at York College, and taught mathematics prodigy Daniel Lightwing, after whom the main character of the film A Brilliant Young Mind was modelled. (Yorkshire!)

Susan Elizabeth Black; For services to Technology. Susan is an Honorary Senior Research Associate in Computer Science at University College London. She is a computer coding activist, author of Saving Bletchley Park and participated in the BBC series ‘Girls can code‘.

Click here to read about the other fifteen women in STEM to receive honours!


Conference Keynote: Angela Brady

s1w-5rq9Sorry for the massive delay in writing my next Sustainability Conference blog post. Life, hockey, youth group running and Christmas preparations have got in the way.

Angela Brady’s talk, of Brady Mallalieu Architects, was two fold. Firstly she spoke of true ecological and sustainable design, but this wasn’t the part that truly inspired me.

The second part of the talk was what really excited me! It was all about the collaboration required with education and it inspired the following teaching activities:

– Use big balloons to visualise how much CO2 on average we currently use in the UK, and compare it to the amount we need to reduce it down to. You could easily use smaller balloons to show what common activities produce too, such as a 10 mile commute.

– Adopt a school is a world-wide initiative that encourages professionals within STEM to adopt a school, and participate in STEM related activities and careers education. This is not a cohesive campaign world-wide campaign, but as with many other simple, yet great ideas it has been picked up in many countries keeping the same principle aim of developing STEM education. Watch out Woodlesford Primary School, I’ll be coming to you in the new year!

– The last idea made me realise exactly where I went wrong in my Architecture degree. Although I gained a 2.1 I was always engineering spaces, rather than creating them. Simply get a pack of straws and some sellotape and instruct the students to create a space. Leave the rest up to them. Some will create rigid structure, some might sellotape a series of straws together to create walls (potentially sloped and curved walls too) A space needn’t have a roof, or even be enclosed, but should simply be created. This activity will help explore the creativity and engineering minds of a youngster and may help differentiate between minds geared more towards architecture and those more scientific or engineering minded.

Let me know if you complete any of these STEM activities. I’ll keep posted about how my adoption of Woodlesford Primary School goes too!

Profiling of women within civil engineering

As part of my HND I had to complete research and write a short report on a topic within the wide realm of civil engineering. I decided to write about the profiling of civil engineering in the media, focussing on the profiling of females.


At 6% there are simply too few females within engineering in the UK. Civil engineering is faring a little better at 10% membership, however this still demonstrates a large gender gap within the industry.

This report collates the facts of the current situation, both specifically in civil engineering, and the wider engineering industry. Focussing on specialist and national media outlets the profiling of females in the industry is analysed. There is also a focus on social media since this can both reinforce and challenge gender imbalances. The report concludes by providing recommendations for companies and individuals who wish to address the issue.

To read the report in full please click here.

This is still a work in progress, and won’t be submitted until 14.12.2015, so constructive criticism is welcome. If you want to contact me please use Facebook or Twitter.


Female STEM individuals wanted!

Female STEM individuals wanted!

Because we don’t all wear hard hats and hi-visibility jackets!

I want to profile females within STEM industries on my blog and would really appreciate as wide a variety of profiles as possible: women who are studying, technicians in their first roles within a company, those who are going for chartership and those who are chartered and are perhaps already fulfilling the jobs they had hoped they might achieve.

Ultimately I hope this will help provide a mixture of role models for women, be them girls at school all the way through to women already established within the industry. If you are interested in being featured please contact me through facebook ( or tweet me (@beckyfordtweets) and we will start creating your profile.

Questions and topics I would like to cover:

What topics did you enjoy at school and why? Was it the experimenting in science, or the problem solving in maths? Did you want a job that combined different interests such as maths and art? What attributes of the subject interested you?

Is there a broader reason for your pursuit in STEM? Perhaps you have a humanitarian interest: Do you want to design cheap, flatpack housing solutions for refugees, or find clean water solutions for those suffering droughts? Or perhaps your parents endured a long commute and that got you interested in rail or road networks such as cross-rail?

Where is your workplace? Are you office based, do you work from home, are you in manufacturing, based on site, or perhaps a combination of these?

What current research and development interests, inspires or excites you?

What keeps you engaged in your work? Is it problem solving, client / customer relations, or is it that your work improves the lives of (hundreds of) individuals? Are there any examples you can give?

What is there about what you do that makes you more than simply an engineer or scientist? Are you a STEM ambassador, do you attend or talk at conferences, do you complete associated charity work, are you part of any policy or organisational groups such as within the ICE or IET?