OV

11 February

International Women and Girls in Science Day 2022

On Friday 11 February 2022, we celebrate International Women and Girls in Science. Although King’s has always had a strong belief in encouraging the scientist in all of us, irrespective of gender, there is still an important conversation to be had for women in the sciences once they leave school.

We asked female OVs currently studying and working in the sciences to help us celebrate their achievements, their inspirations, and, in turn, to help to inspire our future female scientists:

Sqn Ldr Bonnie Posselt (Cr 98-03)

 “I am a medical officer in the Royal Air Force, specialising in Aviation and Space Medicine, and have recently returned from three years with the US Air Force working in the Air Force Research Lab. There I was conducting research into human performance using the latest Helmet Mounted Displays used in aircraft.

International Women and Girls in Science Day Bonnie Posselt

“At school I always loved the sciences because they helped explain the fascinating world around us. I took Maths, Physics, and Chemistry at A Level, as well as astronomy GCSE as an after-school class. Such a solid science and maths background prepared me well for medical school and for pursuing my passion for flying.

“While I was the only girl taking A Level Maths and Chemistry in my year and one of only two for Physics, I have found the STEM field to be welcoming and inclusive for women and I would highly recommend it to anyone! If you find wonder in the world and have a sense of curiosity, then I would certainly encourage you to look into the STEM subjects. Simply put, they are cool!

“A positive role model for me at King’s was Mrs Essenhigh (Co 84-86). She was a staff member in the CCF section (I was a member of the RAF section) and demonstrated to me that the military was most certainly a place for women! She always supported me and my ambitions!”

Alice Evans (S 11-18 and King’s St Alban’s)

“I have always loved Biology and was so lucky to have brilliant female role models like Dr Brown (Hon OV) to look up to at School. I’m now studying for a PhD in Oncology, looking at developing a new therapeutic tool to help choose treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer.

International Women and Girls in Science Day Alice Evans

“I have always been so grateful for the kindness of other women in my field and hope that I am able to contribute to science being a supportive environment for women in the future.”

Amber Morgan (W 02-09)

“I am currently a Pharmacokineticist. Pharmacokinetics is a branch of pharmacology dedicated to studying the fate of drugs (medicines) administered to living organisms. My job in particular is to analyse and interpret the data collected from human clinical trials to answer the questions such as: What dose should I take? Can I take this with food? How often do I need to take this? Can I take this with my other medication? My colleagues and I help to bring new medicines to market to help treat a variety of diseases and disorders.

International Women and Girls in Science Day Amber Morgan

“At King’s I was always interested in science, in particular Biology and Chemistry, with thanks to Mrs Essenhigh (Co 84-86) and the late Mrs Battrum (Hon OV), as well as Maths and Languages helping to give me a rounded perspective. I knew I wanted to go into a job in science but I wasn’t sure which direction to take. I’ve always loved animals so I studied BSc Zoology at Aberystwyth University to give myself a good basis in science, with a focus on animal and human biology. During my degree I developed an interest in Neuroscience, so I studied further for a Masters in Neuroscience at Nottingham Trent University, which also gave me a good insight into the topic of Pharmacology.

“I got into pharmacokinetics when I completed my Masters and applied for a position at my company. After a brief stint in the clinical laboratory, I saw a position come up as a Trainee Pharmacokineticist and went for it. I strongly believe it is worth keeping your eyes open for opportunities in all areas of science and follow your heart when something comes up that piques your interest. I certainly hadn’t heard of Pharmacokinetics when I was younger and exploring options, but there are so many jobs out there that you don’t gain exposure to until you come across them. I love my job and I’d certainly not be here today if I hadn’t been open to something new and gone for it!”

Emma Smalley (W 12-19)

“My interest in medicine was first sparked during Biology lessons at King’s. As a young student, it made such an impact to have a female role model encouraging a passion for science. For me, Mrs Beard’s (Hon OV) enthusiasm and support was particularly inspiring throughout my A-levels.

International Women and Girls in Science Day Emma Smalley

“I’m proud to now be a student doctor on placement in hospital and am able to combine my interest in science with the personal side of medicine!”

You can read more about the female Science teachers in King’s who continue to inspire future generations of OV scientists here.