What’s it really like being a woman in STEM!
Tuesday 18th Jan 2022
This post features Fahima, a Manufacturing Technologist for TCR2 Therapeutics, a company helping discover new cancer treatments.
Fahima is a female in STEM hoping to make her mark in the Biological Science sector and wants to combat the stigma around STEM jobs being a career only for men.
Why not check out our previous event, Women in Tech with Vodafone to help give you a better understanding of what a career in STEM can lead to. Or, if you want to find out more about what Fahima does, and why she was so determined to enter the world of STEM, keep on reading!
What is your name?
What company do you work for?
What is your current job title?
How would you explain your STEM field to young people?
I work for a company that want to make new cancer treatments for clinical trials to treat patients by targeting the cancer cells using their own blood cells and gene editing and processing them.
When did you first become interested in science and was there a moment where you knew you were going to become what you are today?
I was interested in science from a young age. I wanted to help people and find treatments for diseases. I knew I would strive to work in healthcare, but it feels amazing that I got this opportunity to learn from a company that is making such important and innovative treatments for cancer.
What traits or skills would you say are needed for anyone interested in going into the STEM field?
An enthusiasm for wanting to help people and learn. Being able to work well and communicate with a team. Noting your tasks down and meeting deadlines.
What are some cool projects or any specific things you have worked on?
I got to train on the process and see how improvements were being made to optimise the production of the cells.
What is your favourite thing about working within the STEM sector?
I get to work in an environment I’m passionate about with hard working, driven likeminded people that want to help. I also love the diversity and how much I can learn from a group of such intelligent and fun, genuine people.
How important was your work experience in helping get you to where you are today?
Very important. My placement year in quality control gave me the 1 year of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practise) experience which is a requirement for this job. It was very beneficial to start at a higher level as I already was knowledgeable on aseptic practices.
We want to help encourage more young females into the STEM industry, are there any females in STEM who have inspired you?
For me I’d say my mum as she loves science and wanted me to work hard and my older sister as she studied Molecular Biology and Genetics. I also loved the resilience of Rosalind Franklin when she discovered the DNA structure. And now there are recognised females such as Doudna and Charpentier who just won Nobel prizes for their work on CRISPR gene editing!
Are there any final tips you would give to a young person who wants to do what you do?
I genuinely love learning about biology. The systems and how intricately they work together fascinates me. And it’s not just biology, I loved many subjects, and this helps apply broader knowledge. I enjoyed Maths, English Literature, History, Geography, French, you name it! Having an enthusiasm to learn and being fascinated when you understand it will bring you joy. Don’t lose that, you end up wanting to learn more when you have an interest in it. The key is consistency and adding to knowledge, not suddenly cramming everything, but understanding it so you can explain it to yourself and others. You don’t need to be a perfect student, just a striving one. Also, when you bring the richness of who you are to a team, it’s amazing! A team in science isn’t just a one trick pony. We welcome so many different backgrounds both in ethnicity and just in personality and work experience! We have a PhD scientist from India, to a French Lebanese graduate who can bake, tattoo, speak Japanese to a Portuguese scientist who loves gardening and sailing. You can be lots of things, enjoy it and be genuine and kind.