International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an annual awareness day adopted by the United Nations and celebrated on February 11, to promote female involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
To celebrate the contribution MDX is making to the field, we've spoken to students and staff about their scientific inspirations and ambitions.
Eva Chowdhury from Bangladesh was able to pursue her dream career at MDX thanks to funding from the British Council for women from South Asia to study STEM related subjects.
After studying for a BA in Malaysia, where her major was Network Engineering, Eva came to England to study for a MSc in Computer Science.
She said: “After Covid, my father’s business closed and without this scholarship, I could not continue my studies and fulfil my dreams. It was not just important to me but also equally important and precious to my family.
“In the country I come from, girls are usually seen as inferior to men; however, my family supported me throughout my life and always wanted me to continue my studies. “
Eva said she loves being at MDX.
“The courses I am taking are interesting, and I am learning a lot. My lecturers and the STEM team are very helpful and are always there if I need anything,” she added.
“I have made a lot of international friends and I enjoy learning about their cultures and languages. After returning to my country, I want to encourage women to study STEM courses.
“I want to visit different high schools where I will share my experiences and my journey with them. I will also try to guide them to select courses according to their interests.
“I also want to start an IT firm where only women will be prioritised and will be given a safe office environment.”
Elena Zoretich is a third year Robotics Engineering student from Italy who “always loved tinkering” and enjoyed building remote control cars with her brother as a child.
But it was not until Elena attended the 2018 Middlesex Skill Show that her passion for engineering was re-ignited.
“I observed incredible robots in action and learned about the wonder of programming,” she said.
“A former student showed me a system using an Xbox Kinect to scan users, and 3D print a small copy of their bust in only 30 minutes.
“That day I realised that the career I wanted to pursue was in Robotics Engineering.
"I love how the robotics course at Middlesex combines the teaching of theoretical and practical aspects of engineering, promotes independent study while providing great academic support and I especially love how many tech resources are available to students.
“Nowadays STEM careers are not seen as ‘man-only’ options anymore, and a higher number of female candidates are considering STEM careers.”
Elena believes that gender diversity improves the design process.
She said: “In relation to design engineering practices, where brainstorming and problem-solving are indispensable skills to have, men and women think differently and present distinct problem-solving approaches, having them work together is fundamental to provide better solutions to present-day problems.”
And while there are many career options available as a roboticist, Elena wants her contribution to help improve the life quality of others.
“An option I always consider is to work with medical prosthesis,” she added.
MDX alumna and associate lecturer in Design Engineering Puja Varsani won Inspirational Role Model at skills excellence charity WorldSkills UK’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Awards last year.
After graduating with a BSc in Product Design and Robotics in 2012 and completing a Masters by Research in Social Robotics, she has worked tirelessly to encourage students to push themselves by competing in international skills competitions and promotes careers in STEM with a particular focus on women, minority groups and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Dr Laura Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Sport Science, played sport from a young age and was on most of the school teams.
“When looking at my University study options, I loved the idea that I could follow a career that would combine my affinity for sport, and my analytical brain,” she said.
“Studying sport science was the perfect path for me.
“My aspiration within the field of Sport Science is to help shape practise moving forward, whether that is through the generation of research, or by educating and inspiring future practitioners.
“I think there is a perception that Sport Science is male orientated, however I do believe that the gaps are beginning to close.”