2018 WISE Innovation Award Winner

Professor Yamni Nigam

Professor at Swansea University

What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Marvelous! Exciting! Rewarding!

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

An absolute curiosity and a love of science.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t ever give up! If you don’t succeed at first, try, try and try again….

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Persevere, persevere! You are awesome! You are an inspiration for other girls and women. But you may face barriers and walls – persevere! Find a way over, under or around them… seek help and advice from other women in STEM.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

You must choose to do what you think you will totally love. Do what absolutely excites you. Find that aspect of STEM – that something that makes you want to get out of bed every day! Find that thing.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

The issues of gender and diversity were/will always be very important – pre, during, and post COVID. The move to online meetings, interviews, and seminars is much more likely to highlight any issues and lack of gender and diversity since there is always a clear and visual representation. Any lack of diversity will be apparent for all to see and the need to address this will be evident.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

This is so important! I believe that STEM teachers in secondary education have a huge duty here. They should be the most interesting, inspiring and enthusiastic teachers ever! Once STEM interest has been created and ignited in young schoolgirls, they need to know that STEM studies and careers are cool! STEM Organizations, businesses, careers etc. must input into schools regularly at all levels to show how absolutely brilliant and amazing working in STEM can be this. We have to promote STEM as being cool – this is key.

What do you envision for the stem sector over the next 20 years?

Advances in STEM have become more technical and more innovative. They do and will impact hugely on every aspect of our lives. It will therefore become more imperative to inspire and drive interest in scientific developments and advances such as AI, so that younger girls can meet this challenge head on, and embrace being part of this scientific progress.

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