Spring 2016: Joanna Gosling, month two24th March 2016

Spring 2016: Joanna Gosling, month two

I’m nearly at the end of my second month being a SAIC intern and it feels like it’s flown by! Interestingly, it’s also a month that’s seen the shortage of women in science make the headlines on more than one occasion.

First, there was the United Nations International Women’s Day promoting ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030’, then the Welsh government report on the critical shortage of women in science, and tonight the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Programme Awards. Each has led people to ask: how can we encourage more girls and women into science?

For me, science is the antidote to my inquisitive brain and aquaculture brings together my love of the sea and farming background. I think my choices were ultimately due to my fantastic school science teachers. The learning culture at the Colchester County High School for Girls never made me question what I could achieve based on gender and for that I am eternally grateful. I have seen first-hand the damaging effects of gender stereotyping on young girls (and boys) during my time as a trainee science teacher with Teach First. I am lucky to have had ‘encouragers’ in my life to push me to do things when I have doubted myself.

Aquaculture is an industry which desperately needs more women and young talent so my advice is get involved, never stop learning and surround yourself with people that encourage you to achieve your potential (and make sure you encourage others along the way too).

Speaking of which, highlights of my SAIC internship this month have included visiting the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group’s fantastic processing facility in Bellshill (SSMG is a co-operative of the shellfish farmers in Scotland). Manging Director Stephen Cameron and Factory Manager Gerard Allison did a great job at showing us around and schooling us about the successes and challenges of the Scottish shellfish industry.

I’ve also continued my work supporting the University of Stirling’s aquaculture network bid in response to the BBSRC and NERC Aquaculture Initiative. Working with the academics at the Institute of Aquaculture has been great and I have learnt a lot about consortium building, proposal writing and communicating effectively with academia and industry.

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