International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today we’re joining with schools and organisations around the world to celebrate the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in science. 

Since becoming a co-educational school 25 years ago, Latymer has been promoting full and equal access to participation in science for all pupils, something that was recognised by the Institute of Physics who presented us with an award for ‘outstanding achievement in promoting the progression of girls to A-level Physics’ in 2017. 

Today across the three sciences, teachers are using a variety of engaging resources, highlighting the major role women play in science, not least our very own alumnae, Zoe Magnelia (Class of 2019), Dr Victoria Sampson (Class of 2013) and Dr Klara Weaver (Class of 2011):

Zoe Magnelia (Class of 2019)

After leaving Latymer Zoe went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. During her second semester she joined MoonRanger, a research team at NASA that is building a small autonomous rover that will search for ice at the South Pole of the Moon. In September 2020, she was recruited to work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Mars Sample Return project, creating code that analyses the mass properties of mechanical structures as well as designing and building mechanical ground support equipment. Last month she began a long internship at a start-up called Universal Hydrogen in Los Angeles, assisting in the design and build of a plane that runs on hydrogen fuel cells. We wish her well in her career in aerospace engineering! 

 

Dr Victoria Sampson (Class of 2013) 

During lockdown Victoria devoted her time to research on the link between gum disease and increased risk of COVID-19 complications. This led to the first study in the world on the oral microbiome in COVID-19 patients at UCL Hospital. Her research is now the most accessed and read article in the journal of all time for the BDJ and in the top 5% of all research ever published! The research shows that patients who have gum disease are 4.5 times more likely to need to go to ICU due to COVID-19 complications compared to those who do not. As well as her research, she also arranged donations of oral hygiene care packages to people in care homes during lockdown, whilst they are not able to access the dentist. 

She is now spearheading research at UCL Hospital and Whittington Hospital and she lectures worldwide on the connection between systemic disease and oral disease. Her contribution to healthcare was most recently acknowledged by Forbes, who shortlisted her for the Forbes 30 under 30 in Healthcare and Science in Europe; and the Dentistry Awards who, shortlisted her for Best Young Dentist of the year. 

 

Dr Klara Weaver (Class of 2011)

After Latymer Klara went to study Medicine at Imperial College London. After a busy decade working in London and then Iceland, her latest posting is at the Rothera Research Station in Antarctica, specialising in emergency and remote medicine. She is days if not weeks away from another doctor and practising alone in a remote setting requires her to be her own technician and pharmacist as well as doctor.  It also has its benefits – on her morning run she spots orcas and meets penguins on her commute into work in the morning.

“If that’s not a reason to walk the road less travelled, I don’t know what is,” she said. 

 

“I’m proud that over 50% of our female students go on to study STEM subjects for A level and many, like Zoe, Victoria and Klara, go on to enjoy successful careers in science,” said Mr Goodhew, Latymer’s Head.  “Our outstandingly dedicated teachers deliver inspirational lessons that nurture and motivate students to develop genuine intellectual curiosity and love of learning, which continue to make the sciences amongst the popular subjects here. It’s a testament to the team who give so generously of their time and expertise, running a multitude of extra-curricular activities and trips as well as outreach programmes which break down gender stereotypes and make the sciences so relevant, exciting and enjoyable for all young people.”

It’s not just young Latymerians who are being inspired with a love of science, teachers also get involved in Latymer’s STEM Academy, a four-week programme of specialist coaching for local children from our partner schools who show an aptitude for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  As with our Saturday School, this course is entirely free to participants and is generously sponsored by The Sandhu Charitable Foundation.

 

carolineroberts
Author: carolineroberts

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