Women in STEM: Holly

Holly in the nature

My 53rd guest is Holly, a laboratory technician and a passionate science blogger.

Hi Holly! First of all would you like to tell us something about you?

Holly, MRes graduate, working as a research lab technician in pancreatic cancer at University of Glasgow.

When did you start your blog? How did you get the idea?

April 2020, I saw others having a science blog and wanted to get involved.

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

I enjoy running and volunteering outside of work. Try to not answer emails outside working hours, make sure I get outside and unplug daily, prioritise my meditation practise and get lost in books!

During your academic studies how many women were in course? Why in your opinion?

My undergraduate course was 50:50 as it was a general biomedical science degree. However, my masters’ was interestingly 75% women and 25% men. I’m not sure why, but it was a small cohort.

Holly in the lab

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

Fortunately I have not felt limited, or kept apart as a female academic – but I have felt talked over as a relatively quiet, young scientist amongst confident male counterparts/PIs. I often feel like women have to prove themselves in STEM, particularly in a group lead by a male PI.

How did you become passionate about science?

I loved chemistry at school! I really wanted to do Medicine and loved learning all about how our amazing body works. As a kid, I was really into my sports and therefore ended up with quite a few injuries – however this drove my interest in physiology and so a career in STEM felt like a calling.

Holly loves chemistry!

Would you like to talk briefly about your job?

As a lab tech, my job involves much of, what I call ‘behind-the-scenes’ science. The best bit is every day is different; meeting with technology companies, being involved with multiple, really exciting collaborations, performing a wide range of experiments, expanding my practical skill set, attending online seminars and mentoring young scientists, both in and outwith their career goals. Ultimately, my job has also allow me to explore many career paths from academia to industry, policy to hands-on research.

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

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Simply show up, exactly as you are. Your ambition is never too big. Don’t let anyone make you feel silly for having big goals!

Follow Holly on Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

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