Monday, 8 September 2014

What are your personal goals?

My contribution to the Grace Hopper conference would be making the most of the opportunity to put into practice the new skills I have learnt both from my mentor and the webinars so far. It will be a chance to develop both my knowledge and skill sets, networking and finding out more about lots of companies and professionals.

I like to share my experiences via social media, so being able to tweet and blog about the experience and share this both with my followers and with the other women attending the conference would make a great record of progression from the launch event through mentor meetings to the conference, and hopefully help to inspire the next cohort of STS mentees and more girls to go into the STEM subjects. Making connections in person and being able to follow up these meetings through LinkedIn and Twitter would ensure I could make the most of effective networking.

Listening to the speakers talking about their subject, and being able to immerse myself in a world of new technologies would be a completely new experience and one I would consider invaluable.

What would you say to the next cohort of girls?

A mentor is defined in the dictionary as "an experienced and trusted advisor" . Advisor is a pretty key word, as a mentor is someone who will guide you through a decision making process offering their own experiences as an aid.

Things from which modules to take, to which jobs to apply for and what to say in an application or interview are all things that my mentor has helped me with so far. Knowing you have someone behind you who is rooting for you gives you the confidence to think you can succeed, and grab every opportunity with both hands to make the time and effort your mentor puts in, worth it.

Usually a mentor has been in the same position as you or at least the same area, and this shared interest makes finding things like work experience a lot easier as they will share industry contacts with you and make the introductions you need to start getting out into the workplace.

Through this experience I haven't gained just my assigned mentor but many others who I had the chance to network with, exchange tweets with and who are there when I need them for advice on which route to take. If you lack confidence in your own ability, are unsure of which direction to follow up after college or university and you are willing to complete and research the things your mentor asks of you the benefits of the scheme are huge...take the opportunity and you will not regret becoming a Student to Stemette mentee.

What has been your best experience?

So far in the programme I have taken part in three webinars, three mentor meetings and the launch event of the scheme. Each and every bit has been a learning experience, where I've taken something new away, learnt new skills and been inspired, motivated to just go out and do things.

The most inspirational experience for me was the launch event, and having the opportunity to meet women who have been through the same process of university, apprenticeships, graduate programmes in STEM subjects and hear about their experiences. This is where I finally met the people behind the tweets and found out about a lot of career options I had never even considered before the event.

Each webinar sees three women in STEM speak on the chosen topic, sometimes using their own experiences and stories to get their point across. I love webinars. They are incredibly motivating and at the end you just want to go and do everything you possibly can, and having the opportunity to engage with the speakers on twitter afterwards and ask their advice or learn more about their respective companies is great and really interesting.

From this programme I have gained more independence, confidence and purpose. Walking in to a room of people you don't know in a place about as far from your comfort zone as its possible to be can be incredibly daunting, however, when its done and you make the most of the experience you just want to go out and do it all over again.