Over the last few weeks ScienceGrrl has been fortunate to get a few e-mails from young women who have found out about us and are encouraged in their love of science by what we are doing and how we are doing it. This, in turn, encourages us a great deal – we are getting something very right!

One of the young women responsible for putting a massive smile on my face is Laura Oxley, who has kindly agreed that we can reproduce her e-mail here. I think it’s inspirational in its own right, not just because it makes me feel a tiny bit smug.

“I found an article about ScienceGrrl in The Observer and WOW! There’s other people who reacted as strongly as I did to the European Commission’s “inclusion” programme…emphasis on the quotation marks around the word inclusion!

I am an A2 student studying Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Science is number one in my life as my younger sister frequently ridicules me for; It’s been the core to everything that fascinates me and motivates me since I was little and I’m keen to pursue a career in scientific research.

Although there are many girls in my biology class, I am one of only two in a highly testosterone-fuelled bunch of boys in physics, and one of 5 in chemistry. It can be a real struggle to make yourself heard and to make people see how dedicated you are to your passion when you’re just a needle in a haystack.

I’m not from an academic background, my Dad is a joiner and my Mum is a secretary, my love for science is something I’ve developed by myself, along with my work ethics, strong opinions and self esteem. It doesn’t take much more information about me to gauge my reaction to the EC film. Not only did I feel like it was the EC stamping all over me and dampening my view of what it is to be a young woman in science, I also found that although many people felt the same, there were still a considerable number of girls my age who could not care less! A Radio 1 Newsbeat report had a clip of a girl saying that she’d dropped Physics as a subject because it was male-dominated and there wasn’t really anything in it to interest girls. I was left feeling personally insulted. I’m a girl, I like clothes and shoes and chocolate and all those ‘girl’ things…I just also happen to like ecology, evolution, biomechanics, neuroscience, getting my hands dirty and sitting down with a calculator to tackle some killer maths as well. I’m applying to do Neuroscience, Biology and Physiological Science degrees.

Thankyou for voicing my thoughts so well. ScienceGrrl is just what I need!”

Dr Heather Williams
Heather helped establish ScienceGrrl in June 2012 and is ScienceGrrl's Director. Heather is a Senior Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Central Manchester University Hospitals and honorary Lecturer in the Centre for Imaging Sciences at Manchester University. She makes sure pictures of patients are top quality so the doctors can trust what they see, and tries out new and better ways of imaging the body’s functions. When she’s not working, Heather enjoys running, cycling and spending time with her sons.
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams
Dr Heather Williams

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