Breaking Barriers – Women in STEM: “Opportunities like this are so rare to come by.”

“The bursary for me was a really good motivator for this year. It helped me to realise that there are people out there who value the work that we do and really encouraged me to pursue more outreach activities”

Kate (Physics – 2nd Year)

Thank you to all our donors who are supporting our Breaking Barriers – Women in STEM campaign.  Here at Hull, we do not believe it is possible to unlock the wonders of the universe without unlocking the potential of women in science.  Your gifts will help us develop top academic talent in science, so that we can produce the next generation of researchers, teachers, role-models and leaders in the scientific community right here at the University of Hull.

We want to broaden minds and horizons and remove gender disparity in the sciences. We want to see a balanced STEM workforce because a more diverse workforce is more innovative and better equipped to solve problems.

Over 100 of our alumni have supported our Breaking Barriers – Women in STEM Campaign this year, ensuring students get the best out of their time here and also enabling them to promote Women in STEM to the next generation of female University students.

“I’m finding it very fulfilling to give back. I’ve set up a direct debit to support this campaign as I don’t believe women lack aspirations in science but they do need encouragement, opportunities and a chance to see that there is a place for them in the lab”

Alumni Donor

Last summer we saw five of our female students spearhead a campaign to widen participation, with funding from the Breaking Barriers – Women in STEM campaign, we were able to offer each a bursary to support their efforts thanks to a graduate from 1967.

“The alumni bursary helped me a lot, since I was able to upgrade my computer and better utilise it for my studies, it is now quick enough to use for everything from simple written coursework to more involved coding projects or analysing experimental data.”

Anna (Physics – 2nd Year)

“The donation is just a token appreciation of what the University and in particular the Physics Department gave me during my time there. It was a great pity that there was only one girl on our course and she dropped out. I just hope that my small contribution can compensate for such an awful waste of talent all those years ago and support the commendable work being done”

Alumnus, Joint Honours in Pure Maths and Physics 1964 – 67

Each recipient is a powerful peer role model and this funding has impacted tangibly upon the lives of each of these students. Thank you once again.

“The impact of the donations received to date for the Breaking Barriers – Women in STEM Campaign cannot be overstated.  They have emboldened and focussed the commitment to widening participation and gender diversity from the recipients, providing the stimulus for each bursary recipient to take leadership in a number of important outreach events.”

Professor Brad Gibson- Director, E A Milne, Centre for Astrophysics, University of Hull

This year the fund has also enabled the University to offer two fully paid summer internships to local year 12 students allowing them an amazing chance to study with some of the world’s top scientists and discover the amazing possibilities for a future in science.

We have also been able to offer 3 Undergraduate Internships to help our students undertake specific research activities which complement their studies and expose them to elements of the departments world class research in a team that produces over 80 refereed papers every year.

Hannah (2nd Year Physics) undertook an 8 summer week research placement at the University of Iceland to  work on uncovering one of the outstanding unanswered questions in all of science: the nature of the mysterious dark matter that permeates our Universe. She is currently working with a self interacting dark matter (SIDM) model for a dark matter halo comparable to that of our Milky Way, trying to compare it to the current cold dark matter (CDM) model. She is doing this by analysing data from a high-resolution computer simulation which aims to investigate the properties and behaviour of the SIDM. Her team is hoping to prove it can hold up as a valid model for dark matter, to ultimately use it to form clues as to the formation of galaxies, corroborate with observations of dwarf galaxies, and to understand the nature of dark matter. The team is confident that Hannah’s work will be incorporated into a published journal article in the near future; she has been asked to continue working remotely on the project and has also been invited to visit the University of Durham for a week in August (where they are running some of the simulations she has been using).

Hannah, 2nd Year Physics

“I truly cannot put in to words how profoundly grateful I am for the experience I’ve had,” says Hannah. “The opportunity to work with leading researchers in a topic I am so enthused by, in a country I have such a love for has been amazing. I have been fortunate enough to take away not only the enriching experience itself, but also some valuable working contacts, an insight in to ‘real life’ scientific research and even an offer to continue working on the project at Durham University later this summer. Without the funding I received, I don’t think any of this would have been possible. The University of Iceland kindly provided accommodation for the duration of my stay, but travel and living expenses in such an expensive country for an entire month would have just been unattainable.

“I visited Iceland a year ago as a tourist and immediately fell in love with the scenery, the culture and the friendliness of the people. I knew I had to come back one day, and being able to work with such a prestigious department really was the icing on top. Dark matter research is such a current, cutting edge area in physics so being able to collaborate with some of the leading researchers in this field and having the chance to contribute my own work towards their future publications really is just a dream.

“If I could leave a message for the donors who have supported this, it would be to convey my deepest gratitude. Opportunities like this are so rare to come by, so having backing and support to enable me to pursue this has truly been invaluable. Particularly speaking as a woman in STEM, not only has it given me an opportunity to internationally represent my University and gender, but also to unlock future avenues to pursue in my career.”

“The financial support and just-as-important public acknowledgement & recognition of the opportunities that these donations provide are critical to our ongoing efforts to break down barriers; we cannot thank our engaged alumni enough for their committed support.”

Professor Brad Gibson Director, E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, Head of the Department of Maths and Physics.

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