International Women’s Day – Breaking the Bias

Today is international women’s day and the theme for 2022 is breaking the bias, this theme focuses on making a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. To celebrate we wanted to take this opportunity to shine a light on the women at Microsaic and asked them what breaking the bias means to them and their hopes for the future of women in STEM.

The women of Microsaic coming from all sections of the business from software to applications and R&D to business development here are their thoughts!

 

Hebaq Hassan, Applications Specialist

I have a Chemistry degree from the University of Oxford, and following graduation, I worked as a STEM tutor both privately and in schools, educating kids of all year groups in Maths and Science subjects before transitioning to a career in software testing here at Microsaic. Since then, I have worked as an Application Specialist whilst also completing my masters in Biopharmaceuticals at King’s College London.

 

What does break the bias mean to you?

It is about striving for a diverse and all-inclusive world, free of prejudices and discrimination where difference is valued and cherished and stereotypes, bigotry, and bias do not exist. It’s about celebrating women who tear down barriers to reach their greatest potential and pave the way for future generations.

Top tips for young females thinking about entering into a career in STEM

My best advice to young females considering a STEM profession is to connect with and learn from individuals whom you aspire to be. Always follow your heart and pursue the things that interest you, your enthusiasm will overcome any difficulties along the way.

What inspired you to join this industry?

I decided to work in the STEM field because I have always been interested in science and maths and knew I want a career that drew heavily on it. The STEM industry is constantly evolving and being revolutionised and I wanted to work in an industry that is constantly innovating, making every day at work fascinating.

What is one of your greatest achievements in your career?

One of the most enjoyable components of my job is expanding my scientific and analytical knowledge. Since joining Microsaic, I’ve been able to put all the mass spectrometry theory I’ve learned into practise through chemical applications, and I’ve had the pleasure of creating a difference in the user experience of mass spec through our easy-to-use MS.

What do you hope for the future of women in STEM?

The absence of female role models in STEM discourages girls from pursuing these occupations, contributing to the low percentage of women in STEM. Girls who do not see themselves reflected in STEM careers pursue alternative careers and, as a result, will not become STEM role models for girls in future generations. I hope that in the future, the STEM workforce will be more diverse and welcoming of women.

 

Honey Schrecker, Software Team Lead 

I have a physics degree. My 1st job was in the Meteorological Office – I still enjoyed physics and wanted to continue to use my physics skills. Unfortunately I did not like the culture at the Met Office, so thought I’d try working in a software company instead. I really enjoyed the combination of creativity and problem solving involved in designing and writing software, and so my career path was set! I still love working as a software engineer. I love the way you can use your software skills in such a wide range of industries, and I also love that software tools and computers change all the time so there is always something new to learn and try.

 

What does break the bias mean to you?

As a software engineer I’d like to see equal numbers of men and women working as software engineers.

Top tips for young females thinking about entering a career in STEM

STEM jobs are the most interesting and useful jobs.  They are also better paid then many more traditional female roles! Don’t let boys’ greater self-confidence in STEM subjects deter you, you can do STEM just as well and probably better than the boys!

What inspired you to join this industry?

I enjoyed science and math subjects at school.  I started as a software engineer by chance but loved the creativity and problem solving involved and so I’ve stayed.

What is one of your greatest achievements in your career?

Designing a software security product that was installed on 100,000 PCs

What do you hope for the future of women in STEM?

That it become completely normal for girls/women to study STEM at A Level and degree level, and to have successful careers in STEM.

 

 

 

Hayleigh Alexis, Software Tester

Brought up in Basingstoke which at the time had very few black families. I was always encouraged by my parents to try new things and never let my race or gender keep me back. Discovered I really enjoyed science in particular chemistry and decided to do MSci in pharmaceutical chemistry at Queens Mary university of London. I joined Microsaic in 2021 as a software tester.

 

 

What does break the bias mean to you?

Break the bias means to me working towards a world which embraces everyone’s different, and these differences are valued and celebrated.

Top tips for young females thinking about entering into a career in STEM

My advice for young females thinking about entering a career in STEM field would be don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable and take risks. There will be opportunities which you may believe you can’t do but you really can do whatever you put your mind to. Doing something uncomfortable or trying something new might turn out to be the best thing for your life and career.

What inspired you to join this industry?

This industry sparked my curiosity through lab experiments at school, seeing elements changing colour with heat and reactions speeding up using a catalyst gave me a lot of question that I wanted answers to.

What is one of your greatest achievements in your career?

I am very new to this field; I think my greatest achievement is yet to come but my greatest achievement so far would be completing my laboratory-based masters dissertation on Tandem Gold-Catalysis – Aryne Cycloaddition: Synthesis of 5-Benzyloxazoles from Propargyl Amides.

What do you hope for the future of women in STEM?

I hope in the future there are more women who look like me in STEM empowering other women, making new advancements and paving the way for more women.

 

 

Victoria Ordsmith, Director of BD and Marketing

I grew up in Manchester with both parents in the analytical industry, following in their footsteps I went to university to study Chemistry. After graduating with an MChem from Edinburgh University, I had the privilege of working in California at an environmental lab. I returned to the UK in 2015 and started at Microsaic as an applications specialist and have now progressed with the continued support of my colleagues to Director of BD and Marketing.

 

What does break the bias mean to you?

To me breaking the bias is about inclusivity, equality and equity for all women in any spaces they are in. For women to not be overlooked or undervalued in their work and achievements.

Top tips for young females thinking about entering into a career in STEM

My advice is to be strong and believe in yourself, you may at times be questioned but if you know you are right or you feel strongly about something then make it known. Find mentors and people who value and appreciate what you bring to the table, this is beneficial in navigating the future.

What inspired you to join this industry?

I was always good at science at school and it also helped that I had both of my parents in the industry. I was always inspired seeing the work they both did and knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

What is one of your greatest achievements in your career?

My greatest achievement in my career so far would becoming a manager and taking on that responsibility. Another achievement I am proud of outside of work in becoming a mentor to other women starting their careers in STEM.

What do you hope for the future of women in STEM?

I hope in the future there are less barriers to entry for all women into any STEM industry. I hope women become appreciated and valued with access to equal opportunities and pay. I hope to see more women and diversity in leadership and executive roles of STEM companies, because representation matters.

 

Lidija Matjacic, Product Development Engineer

I originally come from Croatia and I have more than ten years of experience in different areas of physics and electronic engineering. I obtained a PhD in Electronic Engineering in developing Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) for analysis and imaging in air using heavy ion beams from the Ion Beam Centre at the University of Surrey. After that I joined the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging at the National Physical Laboratory where I worked on instrumentation optimisation and metrology development for SIMS. Currently I am part of Research and Development team at Microsaic Systems.

 

What does breaking the bias mean to you?

Breaking bias is crucial as it is very often a first step towards stereotype and discrimination. I believe that bias is mostly an unconscious response to something or someone that is usually not well known and/or understood and it is unfortunately well rooted in society. It is of paramount importance to tackle it and the best way to deal with it is by establish a proper education strategy.

Top tips for young females thinking about entering in to a career in STEM.

I would encourage young females to join careers in STEM as these are very exciting and fulfilling roles which usually offer plenty opportunities for professional development. STEM will provide you with a whole spectrum of direct and transferable skills such as an approach to problem analysing and solving.

What inspired you to join this industry?

I wanted to be a part of an enterprise that is offering some interesting ideas and solutions to existing challenges such as miniaturised mass spectrometer that can potentially replace traditional mass spectrometers in some already existing and new applications. I was also keen on learning the overall product development pathway from its development to being placed on the market.

What is one of your greatest achievements in your career?

I guess that my greatest achievement so far would be working in different areas of physics and electronic engineering such as nuclear physics, ion beam physics, ion detectors and ion options which has given me a great opportunity to gain knowledge in these fields and develop valuable transferable skills which are all a great asset in STEM and beyond.

What do you hope for the future of women in STEM?

I hope to see significant improvement in the ratio of males to females in STEM. For this to be achieved an interest in STEM should be developed at an early age and possibility to learn what exactly a career in STEM would entail should be offered, equally to both genders.

 

These women are all an integral part of Microsaic, as a company we want to be a part of this change, if you are interested in a career in STEM please visit our careers page today. Let’s collectively break the bias!

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