I Can Bring About Change

Feb 14, 2020 11:50 AM ET

Research is still often a male-dominated world - but that's changing gradually. Emma Schierbaum is a Baylab manager in Reading, UK, and wants to get other women interested in science.


My dad is a polymer chemist and my mum a chiropodist. So, from as early as I can remember, I was asking questions. I remember being really intrigued by my Dad's fossil collection, looking at bird eggs, being tested on the anatomy of various animals etc., and my parents making it so much fun. They exposed me to the language of science.

More Women in Science
‘Women in Science’ has been a hot topic for a while simply because it is now talked about much more publically. We see such a focus on gender equality and encouraging more women into science. However, like in any career, getting women to choose things that they maybe wouldn't normally consider as a career is inspiring, especially now when the tables have turned. Women do go to work, women are successful.

In science, showing people that we have got brains and we can discover things and have the same interests and analytical minds. There's something quite empowering about that within itself. Women in the past haven’t had enough recognition for their discoveries because science has always been very male dominated – although Marie Curie did a very good job! We're now moving away from that and change is happening. Hopefully, we'll see women winning Nobel Prizes, who knows?

For now, my job as the Baylab Manager is a huge achievement and pleasure. How often do you get the opportunity to set something up from the very beginning? I've really been able to make my own impact. It really has been a dream come true to combine my corporate background, my teaching skills and my biochemistry degree and apply that all to my working life. My next milestone  is to develop these further, providing more resources, new workshops, linking up with all parts of our business because through the Baylab; I can inspire and educate people about our company and its mission.

Always Think Positively
If I had any advice for women now looking to further their career or even start it in science, I would tell them to think positively. I really think that personality sells and that if you are passionate about something, that will come through. I’d also tell them to never pigeon hole themselves and just think, “I'm only going to go in to genetics” or “I'm going to go and look at formulation science” rather than another area. There are so many different options, don't be afraid to change the idea of what you want to do. Say yes to opportunities, even when they don't come at the most correct time. Just believe in yourself, really. I think everyone can doubt themselves and their capabilities at times because we are only human, but if there is a will, there is a way.

Take a chance; take a risk with your career. Who knows where that could then lead you? You don't have to have a fixed path. I think as scientists we very much like a method. We like to know where we're going and, actually, that can sometimes be a bit of a downfall because an opportunity could take you off in to a new area that could be the making of you.

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