In our last few blogs, we featured women working in STEM who were at the forefront of the fight against COVID as well as some of our very own Maths and Science tutors.

In this post, we feature some of the wonderful women we work with and look to the future of STEM by highlighting one of our lovely learners.

 

 

Katherine Robertson

Co-founder of Youtopia Solutions

We spoke to Katherine Robertson who is the co-founder of Youtopia Solutions, an accountancy firm based near Milton Keynes.

Were you always interested in maths?

Yes, as a child I loved maths and my favourite toy ever was something called Little Professor which generated maths questions for you to answer – I loved it! 

How was it being a girl in STEM when you grew up?

Actually, I never felt that I was crusading.  The boys and girls were pretty evenly split in my A-level maths and it never occurred to me that I was in a minority.

What did you do after your studies?

I had worked at Santander during the summers and so took a job there which was part maths and part ICT.  After I had my children, I started to do the accounts for my husband’s company and then retrained to be an accountant, a job my father had done.

How did Youtopia Solutions happen?

David and I set up the company 5 years ago as a part time venture and then 3 years ago, we decided to make it our full-time jobs and now we have doubled our team!.  I still love maths, but Youtopia is more than just crunching figures.  We work with our clients to realise their financial dreams and build their businesses.  

What needs to change re. Women in STEM?

Although there are a lot of women in accountancy, they tend to be in the lower paid, part time roles like book-keeping.  There are some prominent women in the industry, such as Ann Boden at Starling Bank, but there are still a predominance of men in the top roles.  

 

Lakeichia Jeanne

BioMed and MPH Scientist | Economic Development PM | Editor at GirlsInScience.co.uk

What drove your love of Science?

I always loved Science at school and studied Biomedical Sciences at University then did an MPH in public health. I assumed that I would go into medicine until I realised what else was out there for someone with my qualifications.

What do you do to promote STEM locally?

Milton Keynes is my hometown,so I am so passionate about giving back to the community. Whether it’s speaking at local schools, building our mentoring network, our 121 career coaching or the local events I’m a part of.

For the past few years, my digital team has covered the Milton Keynes STEM festival : MK Innovates which in the past year was attended by over 600 students in the area.  It was an amazing event to showcase STEM industries and ways forward for local students.

 We’ve also had panel sessions in places like Middleton Hall as part of the new university; MK:U exhibitions.

What is GirlsinScience.co.uk?

It’s a platform for women to see what possibilities there are out there for careers in STEM and to showcase what females are currently doing in the STEM world. We now have a team of GIS members and bloggers around the world and a platform for high quality videos and resources specifically for women in STEM. Through the website students are able to contact the team personally for 121s and opportunities to be matched to our wider GIS Network

How did it begin?

While I was studying I realised that I felt like I missed out on the female science community. Especially as a student , so much support was needed, and more visibility with an accessible communication base on social media. So I created the platform to address this. After making our first season of videos profiling female scientists, schools started to contact me and the whole movement grew from there!      

 

Sally Michaels

Co-Founder of Red Bird Tutoring

We also spoke to Red Bird co-founder Sally Michaels about her life-long love of technology.

When did you become interested in tech?

My dad was always keen to get the latest technology when we were kids. I remember when we first got the Internet and we all gathered round the computer wondering what on earth we were going to look up!

When did you first start creating websites?

I first travelled around the world in 2002/3 and decided to create a website so people could follow where I was and what I was doing.  I loved Bill Bryson’s books and thought it might be interesting to tell people about my experiences, as I was travelling to some unusual places.

I bought a copy of HTML for Dummies and coded my own website from scratch.  I took photos on a film camera, had them developed as I went and went to Internet cafes to scan and upload them to the website. It’s a lot easier these days!

How have things changed since then?

The second time I travelled, I created an interactive journey using the website builder, WordPress.  This saved me coding everything myself and allowed me to ask my followers where I should visit, eat, stay etc. It was called Bright Orange Pillowcase after some travel advice I was given about always travelling with a bright orange pillow case!

How does tech fit with Red Bird?

I used WordPress to build the Red Bird website and I’m always looking for new technology to make the experience families and tutors have with Red Bird, a smooth one.  We use online programmes for all of our admin tasks, such as scheduling tutoring sessions, keeping track of attendance and paying our tutors.

My favourite system is the one we use for our online tutoring. It has a shared whiteboard feature so that the tutor and the learner can both write on work together. It also records the sessions so that the learner can go back and revisit their learning – very cool!

I like nothing more than finding a really efficient way to create a new system. I am happiest behind the computer!

Maia Jarvis

Future Scientist

Maia is currently in Year 13 and has been working with Red Bird since we were established in 2018. Her passion is in Science and Nature, so we thought we’d ask her about it!

What STEM subjects are you taking at A-level?

I am currently taking Chemistry, Biology and Geography – an extension of Environmental Science – at A-level. Geography is my favourite, but I’m also interested in the cellular side of nature.                       

What are your plans after A-levels?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I have settled on Environmental Science.  I love the environment around me and like being around nature and this way I get to look at nature on a cellular level. I’m interested in photosynthesis and biological molecules – I really enjoy this!

What made you follow the sciences?

I fall in a grey area because I am arty as well as into science, but I really love Biology, so I decided that music and art will be my hobby and science will be what I study academically. 

Where has your love of nature come from?

I enjoy being around nature and my parents would take us to National Trust places around the UK and I loved to look at biodiversity, especially different animals and plants.  I have a fond memory when I was about 10 or 11 of some pond dipping with high resolution microscopes on a day out and I was fascinated. I’m very curious and I think that’s why I’m so interested in science. 

So what about the future?

I’m hoping to go to University after a year off (which I will use to do shorter courses on Geology and other interesting things!) and study Environmental Studies.  I want to be part of educating people like politicians on environmental issues.

Sue

Sue

Owner of Red Bird Tutoring

Sue launched Red Bird Tutoring in 2018, combining her 20+ years experience as a teacher and school leader with her interest in coaching.

Since its launch, Red Bird has helped hundreds of learners achieve success!

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