VARIETY, INTRIGUE AND THE THRILL OF BEING ON THE CUTTING EDGE ARE JUST SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF A CAREER IN STEM, SAY FOUR WOMEN WORKING AT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMPANY JOHNSON MATTHEY
This year marks 100 years since British multinational company Johnson Matthey recruited its first R & D scientist, and today it is still just as committed to supporting the next generation of budding scientists. A leader in its field for more than 200 years, Johnson Matthey uses science to solve complex problems for its customers, and applies unrivalled scientific expertise to enable cleaner air, improved health and the more efficient use of the Earth’s natural resources.
A key part of supporting scientists is addressing the long-term lack of women in STEM. Jen Bhantoo, who worked in product development at Johnson Matthey for six years before becoming a technical sales executive for the company, says: “The preconception that STEM is very male-dominated is changing but we still need to dispel that myth, especially at school level. We should be encouraging girls to take up STEM subjects, and that should then translate into industry.” Johnson Matthey invites schools to visit the company, where students can speak to staff about their jobs and experiences, and is keen to get more women into careers in science. “Johnson Matthey is very supportive of women in STEM and has a really good representation of them,” says Amy Kolpin, a senior scientist at the company. “My experience here has always been very positive.”
Communicating the unique advantages of a career in STEM plays an important role in making girls feel confident and enthusiastic about pursuing science. All four scientists stressed that it’s far from just white coats and laboratories. “I like that my role isn’t constant – it’s always evolving and leading to exciting new areas of science,” says Tugce Erdan, a principal scientist working in advanced characterisation. “Johnson Matthey is very open to new ideas and always encourages people to follow and catch up with the science scenes around the world.”
Sheena Hindocha, who works for Johnson Matthey’s new product introduction group, believes that working in STEM offers things you can’t get in other jobs. “The skills you learn throughout your life as a scientist or an engineer and the way you look at the world are slightly different to the norm, and that opens up so many opportunities to you,” she says. “The only way we’re going to solve some of the challenges the world is facing at the moment, like global warming, is through technology we haven’t yet discovered or created. It’s a really exciting time to be starting a scientific career.”
“WE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGING GIRLS TO TAKE UP STEM SUBJECTS, AND THAT SHOULD THEN TRANSLATE INTO INDUSTRY.”