Women in STEM: Emilia

Emilia in the lab

My 24th guest is Emilia, an Italian lab technician based in the UK.

Hi @emilia.science! First of all would you like to tell us something about you?

Hi there, my name is Emilia Angelillo, I am Italian, but I have lived in the UK for several years.
I have completed my studies in Italy where I gained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Microbiology and Virology. I have worked as a Medical Microbiologist in hospitals in Italy and then in the UK. A few years ago I have changed my career and started working in education. I work now in an independent school in Cambridge and I am RSciTech Science Technician and STEM Ambassador.

When did you start your Instagram account? How did you get the idea?

I opened my Instagram account because I wanted to participate to the annual event called Techognition (a celebration of the work that school technicians do on a daily basis) where we are asked to share pictures of what we do in the lab.

Can you tell us something about how you balance work and private life? 

Sometimes it is a bit tricky, I am a very organised person and manage to do things quite quickly, so I have a very scheduled routine that starts very early in the morning and end quite late at night.

During your academic studies and now at school how many women were in course? Why in your opinion?

Biology has always been a faculty with a high number of women. I think there was the misconception that boys had to take medicine and women biology, I hope it has changed now! Also lots of women started their career as lab workers to end up working in the education when they got a family,. This type of study gives you this option.

Have you ever felt harassed or being kept apart as a scientist because you are a woman?

Sometimes I had the feeling that people were not expecting me to be good at some particular tasks because I am a woman, especially when I was working in Italy. Also at University I noticed that sometimes the way women were addressed was different from men. Even more if women were also good looking and took care of their person. They were not taken seriously for that.

How did you become passionate about science? 

I used to play scientists with my brother, and I have always been curious about how things worked in the surrounding word

Would you like to talk briefly about your job?

As lab technician I support the science department and assist science teachers in the practicals. So I prepare the experiments for chemistry, biology and physics, I also do demonstrations in the classrooms, aside to all the usual jobs in the lab like orders, storage rooms, health and safety etc. As STEM ambassador I do hands on activities in other schools, mainly primary schools, as I am trying to promote practical science since early years. I am also involved in STEM projects such as workshops, STEM clubs and STEM weeks, both at the school where I work and in other schools I visit as STEM Ambassador. 

Thank you so much for your time. Lastly, can you give any advice to girls interested in STEM?

I just wanted to say that if you like science and you work hard then you will succeed. As women we don’t have to feel the pressure to choose between our career and our private life. We can do many things as we are really good at multitasking. We can be scientists but we can also have a family, interests and hobbies. There are no stereotypes in science, and being a scientist doesn’t mean you need to look and behave in a particular way….just be yourself and don’t allow anyone to tell you what you can and can’t do!

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