Transformation Specialist, Automation Lead, BT 

How I Came To STEM 

I have always really liked learning – interested in finding out fun facts about all sorts of things! My interest in science and solving puzzles when I was younger eventually led me to decide to study Physics at university. After my GCSEs I was really conflicted about what to keep studying; I always really liked History and Languages as well as Maths and Science.  Physics definitely wasn’t an obvious choice as I come from a pretty non-sciency family, but they were super supportive of my interests and encouraged me to go for it. Graduating from the University of Bristol with 2:1 Physics BSc is one of my proudest achievements – I learnt so much during my degree. Being very much in the minority as a woman studying a Physics degree kickstarted my passion and commitment to science communication and outreach. During university I volunteered at Bristol’s science centre ‘We The Curious’ as a science communicator and worked with Digilocal, a business who provide access to laptops to teach scratch and python coding skills to kids through code clubs. I found this so interesting and wanted to learn more about coding and the positive impact it can have on people’s lives. This led me to my first job out of university creating online educational resources to help young people learn about maths and science. Through this I became more involved in tech and coding and decided I wanted to pursue this further – leading me to apply for the Technology Graduate Scheme at BT. 

Why I Love What I Do 

During my time at BT, I have worked in Network Operations, Converged Core Design and BT TV Software Engineering teams across the Technology part of the business. This helped me get a real feel for the variety of work that goes on across BT. At the end of my Graduate Scheme, I applied for a promotion back in the Network Operations Transformation Team and that’s where I am now. I work as a Transformation Specialist in BT’s Network Operations Centre which keeps the UK’s critical national networks and IT infrastructure connected. Without the work the centre does 24 hours a day, 365 days a year the NHS, air traffic control, emergency services, traffic lights and card machines just would not work! My main focus area is looking at ways to improve and simplify processes used to monitor and maintain the networks. I look at how automation can be used to do this – from using digital adoption platforms to robotic process automation to coding microservices to close the loop on processes end to end. 

Some of my favourite things about my job are: 

– I love the variety of the projects I get to lead on and manage. 

– I’m always learning! I get to learn about all sorts of new technologies, systems and software. 

– I love working in a career where I can see the positive impact of what I do on people’s everyday lives – keeping people connected! 

– I get to be creative and problem solve every day. 

– I am supported in my learning and development and my STEM outreach activities. 

What I’m Proud Of, & What I’m Hoping To Achieve Through The WYPB 

I am really proud of the outreach work that I do as a mentor, STEM ambassador and now hope to take this further as a WISE Young Professionals Board Member! 

I really enjoy volunteering as a mentor for young people through Brightside and Avado’s FastFutures programme. I do my best to instil the belief that you can do whatever you aspire to, offering advice and guidance when it comes to navigating higher education and the sometimes intimidating world of job applications and interviews. I also volunteer as an Industry Mentor for the Bristol Alumni Network and Stemettes to help run CV, mock interview, and career related workshops. 

I am also a passionate STEM ambassador talking to students and teachers about my career journey so far, the different careers on offer in STEM and the different pathways into the tech industry. I think it is super important to see women working in tech as role models to show to pupils that a career in tech or science is possible for them. I am also part of Adastral Women in Tech, a network for women, minority, and LGBTQ+ people in tech. Organising virtual networking events throughout the pandemic was such a fun and important way to create new connections and discuss a range of topics with other likeminded people. In 2020 I founded a blog with my sister Maisie with the aim to inspire young women into pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. We share our stories and experiences with others through the website and our Instagram page (with 1200+ followers). 

I want to continue to pursue my goal to inspire and encourage as many young women into STEM careers as I can. My position on the board will be a great platform to be a visible role model to young people challenging the stereotypes of what a typical physicist or technologist looks like. I believe doing work to shift bias and stereotypes at all ages is super important but in particular at very young ages and in the classroom. I want to help instil the belief that anyone can have a fulfilling and rewarding career in STEM if they want to – and help to make this a reality. I am excited to work with like-minded people and learn from their experiences and knowledge in how we can make real positive change happen!