2013 WISE Advisor Award Winner

Kathryn Boulton-Pratt

Former Assistant Head at GDST

What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Inspirational, Challenging, Rewarding

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

Both my O’ level & A’ level Chemistry teachers inspired my love of the subject and after sometime in industry I decided to share my passion for Science with young people through teaching.

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

You can make a difference by doing something you love.

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

Have confidence in your own ability, keep learning new things and take the time to support / mentor other women in your field, especially those with less experience. Ask questions, for help, for opportunities because often if you don’t ask you won’t get. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want something else may result from your approach.

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

There are so many opportunities available in the STEM sector, many of which you haven’t thought of, let alone considered. Take the time to try and find out about them because there will be opportunities for women with a variety of interests, allowing you to make a positive difference to the world we live in.

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

Embed the new ways of working introduced during the pandemic. More flexible working arrangements and reduced travel can create opportunities for those with disabilities or chronic illnesses and for working parents who may have had to take a step back from work due to childcare (unfortunately often women). Also, managers should insist on diversity within their project teams.

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

Start with young children; take activities into primary schools or brownie packs or sponsor STEM competitions that young girls will enjoy completing. Get them talking about environmental engineering, sustainable energy, bioengineering. Many of them want to do jobs that ‘help’ people but, even today, often their ideas of this don’t go far beyond the health service

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

It will continue to grow, as it has done over the last 20, and provide more exciting opportunities for all types of people. The number of women involved will continue to increase as more support and encouragement is now available. Employers must however continue to have policies that ensure equality for all and continue to strive to meet their targets.

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