International Women’s Day - celebrating women in STEM at Science Group

Here at Science Group we’re proud to celebrate our female colleagues working across the Group’s companies, delivering innovation and success in roles as diverse as applied science, regulatory advice, advisory, consultancy, mechanical engineering and more. 

We asked some of our team a variety of questions including what are some of their work highlights, why inclusion is important to them and how they try to #InspireInclusion in the workplace. Read what they had to say.

Hermione Blakiston - Sagentia Innovation

 

I joined Sagentia Innovation shortly after completing my MPhys (master’s in physics). I specialised in computational physics; my final project focused on using aircraft ADS-B communications to predict weather patterns using refractivity modelling. I also gained experience in internships working on simulated battery and solar cell charge cycles for high-value aerospace products and systems. My expertise has since expanded to diagnostics, optics, manufacture processes, and IP analysis.

I am proud to have recently driven clinical testing of diagnostic products in the US and Southeast Asia. Since joining the Science Group, I have been trained in use of a Rheometer, DSC, Profilometer, Fluorescent microscope, Photoacoustic monitor, SEM as well as undergoing BSL-3 Containment Lab training.

Diverse perspectives and teams bring innovative ideas and approaches to problem-solving. Fostering inclusion is particularly vital in the medical sector, where it is not only a matter of ethics but also a strategic imperative for delivering high-quality, patient-centred care.

I try to tackle bias in the workplace by raising awareness about cultural differences and stereotypes and staying true to myself. Breaking down social barriers by actively educating my peers is one way I advocate for women of colour in STEM.

Neetu Chugh – Leatherhead Food Research

 

At Leatherhead, I manage a large portfolio of clients and cultivate relationships over transactions to build long-term trust and connections, which is crucial for a long-term partnership. Within one year of joining, I was promoted to Senior Manager of Client Relations. I believe that employees who feel valuable and empowered can make informed decisions, ultimately providing extra value. Inclusive environments encourage open dialogue and debate, which leads to better decision-making processes. Fostering inclusion in the workplace is not just a moral imperative; it's also a strategic advantage that contributes to organisational success and long-term sustainability. Moreover, when employees feel included, they are more likely to stay with the organisation, reducing turnover costs and retaining valuable institutional knowledge.

I am a life enthusiast and love to embrace and celebrate the differences that exist within the workplace and the wider community. I often catch my fellow employees during coffee breaks and lunchtime and engage in open and honest conversations, ask questions, and show genuine interest in learning about their experiences and perspectives. This helps me increase my understanding and empathy towards others and enables me to engage in more inclusive interactions.

Taylor Metts-Houston – TSG Consulting

 

I have been a Regulatory Specialist for TSG for 4 years this month. Some of the highlights of my work include delivering large amounts of work for huge seed, fertilizer, and feed companies throughout the year. I especially love it when clients have taken the time to reach out to give feedback on how much they enjoyed working directly with me and how happy they are to have all their products in trusted compliance.

I think inclusion is the most important for future generations in STEM and Agricultural fields. When I was studying, the more women that I saw succeeding in the jobs I wanted to do, inspired me to believe that I could be in the same roles. I try to inspire inclusion in the workplace by taking examples from my leaders and listening to the opinions and ideas of my peers.  I think a workplace is the most successful when it is a safe place to be authentically yourself amongst the people you work with.  

Rebecca Hewitt – TP Group

 

My background was in academic research when I stayed at university to complete a PhD in solar physics. It began out of an interest in astrophysics but quickly became a steep learning curve into programming and statistical analysis using ground-based observations of the solar surface. It involved a lot of international travel and collaboration with brilliant people which I loved. I then moved into education, teaching Physics to 11-18 year olds, trying to convey the fascination of the subject beyond a school curriculum. The kids were inspiring, and hilarious and always kept me on my toes while I worked up to a head of department role.

At TP Group, I am currently leading a project looking for the latest S&T research and how it might impact the future of Defence. It’s such an interesting project, linking academic research to creative and innovative ideas.
Throughout my career, my area of work has been male-dominated but I think that has just made the roles more interesting to approach with a different perspective. I have always been encouraged to work towards anything that interested me, and part of that confidence originated from attending an all-girls secondary school and having great role models. However, I have seen in schools how, from a young age, being outnumbered or stereotyped can be a barrier to girls and women becoming involved in STEM-based subjects and careers. I think it’s important to bring as many different perspectives to a workplace and a role, as that diversity of thought can lead to greater innovation.
I understand the importance of role models to inspire others in all work environments and have myself benefitted from experienced women supporting me in my career. I am keen to pass that support on and give others the confidence to go for roles that they may not have seen themselves getting previously.

Maria Spinetta - Sagentia Innovation

 

I am a Food Engineer and am multilingual. In the last 3 years I have supported over 50 projects and am pleased to say I am now being promoted. I enjoy writing thought leadership articles such as my white paper on edible oil supply chain disruption and I’ve also written the most downloaded whitepaper of 2023: “Packing innovation: How to take a strategic approach to the evolution of packaging.”

To advocate inclusion, as part of the Sagentia Innovation social committee and able to push for inclusive activities where we not only bond with our work friends, but also meet people from other areas of the business.

Inclusion means feeling valued. Everyone should feel involved, valued, and considered. Inclusion means you can say what you believe and that you will be heard. Inclusion means you matter and the role you play is crucial for the world. Inclusion is a result of diversity. Diversity is a MUST in STEM. Included diversity ensures outstanding results. Inclusion matters to me because I work hard every day to be included and to include others.

I set time aside to talk to one new person every month, and I make introductions between people from different sister companies/sites/groups. I listen to people and try to engage/bond with them. So far it’s working well.

Carmen Dutton - Sagentia Innovation

 

I graduated in 2021 with a BSc in Biochemistry, which has allowed me to understand the fundamental mechanisms of living organisms. Whilst in my final year of studying, I was proud to be part of a female-dominated team that was working to support government COVID testing at the height of the pandemic.

In my time at Science Group, I have worked on over 25 projects in the consumer sector, including a project that focused on improving accessibility of beauty and homecare products to ensure universal design. I joined Sagentia Innovation as a graduate and have been promoted to a role which gives me even more exposure and contribution to the decision-making processes for our clients.

Female inclusion helps bring forward diverse perspectives and ideas to the table. For some projects, it is particularly important to have this broader perspective as women often experience or interpret aspects of products/services differently from men. I also believe that it is important to have women in leadership positions within this industry, to serve as role models for the younger generations.

Inclusion can be achieved in many ways, simply by just ensuring women’s voices are heard in campaigns such as this is a key to raising awareness of some of the remaining inequality that can exist in STEM.

Taylar-Jayne Bateman – TP Group

 

I graduated with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering. I am honoured to have been awarded the Santander Women in Engineering scholarship, recognising my dedication and potential in the industry.

During my time with Science Group, I’ve been involved in a diverse range of medical product development projects spanning surgical robots to diagnostic devices. I was also offered a graduate role before my placement year ended, due to high performance. I’ve been a named inventor on a few patent applications for our clients.

Despite being a male-dominated expertise, having a diverse team developing products is crucial as it brings together varied perspectives, leading to more innovative and inclusive solutions. It also ensures that products are designed to meet the needs of a broader range of users.

I try to inspire inclusion by actively advocating for design choices that consider the preferences and experiences of female users, ensuring that their voices are heard in the decision-making process.

Antonia Smith - Sagentia Innovation

 

I graduated with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering. I am honoured to have been awarded the Santander Women in Engineering scholarship, recognising my dedication and potential in the industry.

During my time with Science Group, I’ve been involved in a diverse range of medical product development projects spanning surgical robots to diagnostic devices. I was also offered a graduate role before my placement year ended, due to high performance. I’ve been a named inventor on a few patent applications for our clients.

Despite being a male-dominated expertise, having a diverse team developing products is crucial as it brings together varied perspectives, leading to more innovative and inclusive solutions. It also ensures that products are designed to meet the needs of a broader range of users.

I try to inspire inclusion by actively advocating for design choices that consider the preferences and experiences of female users, ensuring that their voices are heard in the decision-making process.

Ailsa Jackson – TSG Consulting

 

I have a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences and am a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (ABT). I served on the board of Directors of the ABT including acting as Secretary, Vice President and President.

At TSG Consulting, I’ve worked on some big projects to ensure the renewal of plant protection products for our clients and recently, I have written a paper supporting the health claims made by certain pet foods which is due to be published soon.

A diversity of opinion and outlook brings excellence to any piece of work. Being able to hear and engage with others on any topic enhances the discussion and improves the output in comparison to when certain views are excluded.

I try to ensure that everyone has a voice regardless of their gender, ethnic background or other criteria which could be used for exclusion. All voices should be heard and considered.

Erica Kantor - Sagentia Innovation

 

I have a BSc Degree in Mechanical Engineering and am a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with the IMechE. As a Sector Manager in Sagentia Innovation’s medical sales team, I engage with clients to define and develop life-changing medical technology. I also lead our Women’s Health initiatives internally and with our clients, including authoring whitepapers, speaking at events, and hosting webinars.

Inclusion is essential to a company’s culture – everyone should feel like they belong and that their voice is heard. Inclusion also drives innovation, fostering openness and empathy in the design and development process.

Caroline Potter - Sagentia Innovation

 

Since gaining a PhD in chemistry, I am now VP of Sustainability and am working as a team to develop our Science Group Sustainability practice which serves to help companies tackle this vitally important and complex challenge

I firmly believe success comes from collaboration and listening to different voices. This not only brings objectivity but opens doors to different ideas and ways of thinking.  Our success on projects comes from not only being able to bring together different disciplines and areas of expertise but also different perspectives and lived experiences.

I strive to always be open to supporting my colleagues and working collaboratively.

About Science Group

Science Group is a science & technology business providing consultancy and systems to an international client base. The Group comprises five operating divisions, supported by a strong balance sheet including significant cash resources and freehold property assets.