Last week, 17 year old Tanya Khumalo from Gracemount High School joined Dr Helen Bridle as part of the Equate Scotland CareerWISE programme, which aims to encourage more girls to consider SET careers through work experience. Science, engineering and technology (SET) are vital to Scotland's future yet many women are not entering these sectors. Currently only 13% of the SET workforce are women.
This is the first time I have been able to see what engineers and research scientists do and I've loved it. I'm very excited about my future
During the week Tanya had the opportunity to meet scientists from across the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences. She attended seminars covering blood manufacture and the application of nanofibres, and had the chance to run an experiment in the lab using microfluidics for separation studies. She also helped at Chemistry Conversations, part of the Midfest 2014 outreach event, developing a teacher's guide to explain how to deliver this activity in schools.
In summing up her experience Tanya commented: "This is the first time I have been able to see what engineers and research scientists do and I've loved it. I'm very excited about my future. I understand my options better and that feel like I could do anything if I set my mind to it."
Dr Helen Bridle said: "Tanya's positive attitude and enthusiasm to fully make the most of this opportunity were inspiring, and made this week really enjoyable for me. I wouldn't hesitate to encourage colleagues to participate in the CareerWISE programme."
Heriot-Watt participates in the CareerWISE programme as part of its Athena SWAN initiative.