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SiSTEM event inspires underrepresented students to pursue postgraduate studies in STEMM

The information session and panel discussion were aimed at female undergraduate students and those from underrepresented backgrounds with the goal of inspiring them to consider doing a Master’s or PhD in STEMM.

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It was very encouraging to see people who look like me, who have also pursued a similar career path. To see how they have progressed in their respective fields is very inspiring and shows me that, although the road may not be straightforward, anything is possible and great things can be achieved. The panelists are an example of what I can achieve and they remind me not to be discouraged if I don’t know what my next steps are yet.– Student event attendee

The event was organised by the Success for Black Engineers programme and SiSTEM, a platform which connects women in STEMM. They aim to support women and girls on their STEMM journey. They particularly aim to showcase Black women in STEMM and encourage young girls to aim higher. Their ultimate aim is to change the narrative of women in STEMM. SiSTEM was co-founded by King’s alumna Dr Abigail Otchere, now Associate Medical Communications Manager at Excerpta Medica BV - Adelphi Group and her sister Donna Otchere, Ecosystem Programme Officer at the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub.  

As an organisation it’s one of our missions to give access to those who come from similar backgrounds to us or have a dream but don’t know how to achieve it. This event definitely helped us to do this and it was so important for us to share the knowledge we wished someone gave us as undergraduate students. As much as we inspired the students we were equally inspired by their drive to succeed.– Dr Abigail Otchere and Donna Otchere, SiSTEM co-founders

During the event, undergraduate students from King’s and other universities were provided with information on what a PhD is, where to look for funding, and on job prospects after postgraduate studies. Undergraduates were given honest advice and first-hand experience during a lively panel discussion. Panel members included Adama Saccoh, a UCL PhD student in cardiovascular sciences and founder of The Catalyst in Me blog, which shares career profiles and advice to help life science students in their journey, and Abisola Ajani, a Process Technology Engineer at ADM and founder of Black Women in Engineering, a Network that aims to increase the visibility of black female engineers globally. 

It is vital that we address underrepresentation in academia and STEMM careers. This is one of the aims of the Success for Black Engineers programme. It was fantastic to hear from a panel of successful Black women in STEMM who are inspiring our undergraduate students to go into postgraduate studies and careers in STEMM.– Professor Kawal Rhode, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Head of Education, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences

The Success for Black Engineers programme supports aspiring Black engineers at school and university. It was awarded funding in 2022 from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity Impact Programme to address the unequal outcomes experienced by pupils and students from diverse and underrepresented groups. The programme includes school outreach and tutoring, peer and academic mentoring of undergraduate students, and events with industry partners such as Ansys

In this story

Kawal Rhode

Kawal Rhode

Professor in Biomedical Engineering and the Head of Education at the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences

Sophie Rust

Sophie Rust

EDI Coordinator

Women in STEMM Season

A month-long celebration of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

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