Working from home – 1 year on

Hi! It’s Lily here and I’m back again with a few thoughts on how I have found the past year working from home.

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I picked my monitor up off my desk and left the office for the last time! In some ways it feels like a long time ago, so much has changed workwise, I’ve changed job role twice completely remotely. But in another way it feels like it’s been 5 minutes with the repetitive nature of ground hog day very much in full swing especially at the moment with the current lockdown in the UK stretching on!

I am so lucky to have been able to continue working from home throughout lockdown – but there have been challenges and it’s been a bit of a journey at times, let’s get into it!

So how have I found the last year?

Looking back really gives me the space to see how much I have learnt over the past year. I recently moved into my third and final rotation of my technology graduate scheme, so this is now the third team I have worked with whilst working from home.

It has been really challenging moving into new teams completely virtually. Last July I moved into my second rotation, and I moved out of that team at the beginning of March this year so I never actually got to meet any of them face to face.

One thing I find very overwhelming is initial meetings and trying to make good first impressions. Having cameras on in calls definitely helps but it is still not the same as meeting someone for the first time in person! I can get so anxious about calls and meetings when working from home that just wouldn’t bother me face to face.

In general working virtually hasn’t been too different to working in the office for me. I have a good desk set up and am able to access all the systems, devices and software I need as I would do in the office.

However, I definitely tend to overthink things and I feel working from home can be dangerous for this. On anxious days I can overthink messages and emails I send to the point of insanity, again something that doesn’t happen in the office. And I definitely get into my own head more – spending long stretches of time on my own with just my computer for company!

The lines between working and not working can definitely get blurred too! One of the reasons I haven’t been writing a lot on the blog lately is that I have really been trying to only work and look at my laptop during work hours and try, as much as possible, to have laptop free evenings!

As I’m doing the graduate scheme I am doing a lot of learning and personal development at the moment too. I love learning but it can be difficult to know when to stop as it doesn’t feel like I’m ‘working’ in the traditional sense. This means I tend to get carried away into the evening. I am trying to set these boundaries and be a bit stricter with myself otherwise I know I will burn myself out!

Another big change during the last year is that I bought and moved into a new house! This has been a bit of a life saver in terms of keeping me away from screens as I’ve been doing lots of DIY bits. I love having small painting and DIY projects around the house, it is definitely coming together now – and is feeling more and more like home. However it was incredibly stressful for a while and difficult to balance the house admin with my job and my learning! Thankfully I’m pretty much out the other side of all that now and I have my new working from home desk set up all sorted and have been really enjoying it!

How have I stayed motivated?

With working from home not looking like it’s going anywhere anytime soon here are few things I have been doing to stay motivated through this monotonous and tricky time:

  • lots of cups of tea (over lockdown I have collected an embarrassingly large selection to choose from).
  • mixing up where I work from – desk, dining table, comfy chair, spare room (sometimes I need a change of scene so all the days don’t blur together quite so much).
  • taking breaks away from the screen and getting outside – I now have my very own little garden and have been loving stepping away from the computer taking a drink out there and just having a few minutes in the sunshine.
  • using notion to make lists and keep myself accountable – I have been loving using the website notion to keep track of my training and learning, creating to-do lists and writing up my notes (it is great for making coding related notes especially!).

If you are currently working or studying from home, how do you stay motivated? What are your working from home hacks?

Thanks so much for reading!

Lily

2 Sisters in STEM

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‘But you don’t look like a physicist!’

Hi, Lily here! For this week’s post I am going to be talking about the reactions I have faced when talking to people about the fact I did a physics degree. My thoughts on the conversations I have had, how the responses have and continue to affect me and ultimately why I think working to tackle stereotypes is so important!

A few years ago whilst I was studying at university a question I was often asked (and often felt uncomfortable answering) was – what do you study? Early on in my degree I would reply almost shyly, bashfully …’umm I study physics’ and it usually shocked people to some extent. But why? This is what I want to explore in today’s blog post!

Over the past few years being on the receiving end of this exchange many times I can pretty much group people’s reactions into the following:

  1. ‘Woahhh you must be really clever … I dropped physics as soon as I could!’
  2. ‘Cool that must be really interesting!’
  3. And third and finally – ‘No way! But you don’t look like you would study physics!’

As I worked through my physics degree I became more and more confident in my ownership of the word physicist. I hadn’t studied physics for 3 years, put ALOT of hard work into it to not feel worthy enough to be a ‘physicist’. And I think in some way this made me analyse the reactions I got to telling people I was ‘a physicist’ even more closely!

So let’s break down these reactions! Firstly number one, something along the lines of ‘that must be soooo hard’, or ‘I never got on with physics at all’. This is probably the most common response I get – which is really sad! People that have had such a rubbish experience with science and physics in particular at a young age that they ‘dropped it as soon as they could’ or ‘always remember it never clicking’ or that ‘they just never got it’.

I think there is something pretty important to think about here! Are people scared off from subjects when they are younger because they are told by friends, family sometimes even teachers that they are ‘really hard’ or maybe that ‘they haven’t quite got what it takes’? Now I am not saying that physics isn’t difficult, but I believe passionately that the majority of people who study physics or perceived ‘hard’ subjects are not naturally good at them! They don’t ‘just get it’ – they work really bloody hard and they slowly improve their knowledge over time. It is not magic! I think it is really dangerous to perpetuate this idea that certain subjects are only for people who show extraordinary intelligence or brilliance – this is not the case, what you need is a passion for the subject, lots of determination and the willingness to put a lot of hard work in!

The second reaction is great – it is always brilliant when at the mention of physics people respond positively! Usually they might have an interested in something science-y themselves or they may have seen or read a physics or science related documentary/film or book. This is why science communication and science in the media is so important! People’s whole perception and view of what I do is usually based around what they see through the media – for instance people often talk about Brian Cox and what they think of his documentaries.

The third and final response I frequently got (and initially really feared) is ‘No way! But you don’t look like a physicist!’. This response is usually preceded by a look of shock/confusion and is by far and away the most difficult to reply to. This response is the reason for years I was shy and often nervous to have this conversation. What am I expected to reply to that? When someone looks at you in disbelief when you tell them what you do/ what you study – it really does make you question yourself! It shouldn’t, but it does – does this person think I’m lying? Do I look incapable? Do I look too young? Is there something wrong with what I’m wearing? Is it because I’m a woman?

I know I do not look like society’s stereotypical physicist or scientist e.g. a caricature of Albert Einstein – mad scientist vibe! But the shock, disbelief and judgement from others can make you feel really self conscious! And this is something I really don’t want other young women in STEM to have to deal with.

This is why female representation in STEM is so, so important! Anyone no matter what they look like can be a physicist or work in STEM! Diverse role models working in STEM are so important and this is where social media really comes into it’s own. You can find such a wide variety of people working in all sorts of STEM careers, and this is only going to keep improving. We need as many people as possible sharing their stories to keep pushing for wider representation. This will hopefully lead to more people realising that physicists and people working in STEM come in all shapes and sizes, from wide ranging backgrounds, career paths and life experiences. That we are not all – a certain age, a certain sex, dress a certain way, talk a certain way – but that we are varied and unique and that this diversity and continuing to work to improve representation is what will push Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths forwards.

Working to tackle stereotypes is extremely important and this is one of the reasons why I started this blog! The more people there are talking about their experiences the more role models there are for young people aspiring to work in STEM. If young people can align themselves to people already working in the field this will hopefully give them the belief that they can do it too!

Let me know if you have had a similar experience ( ‘But you don’t look like a …’ )? And what more do you think we can do to continue to smash stereotypes of what a physicist or someone who works in STEM looks like?

Thanks so much for reading!

Lily

2SistersinSTEM

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2 Years On From Finishing Uni

I really cannot believe (for one tiny second) that I graduated from university 2 years ago today! It was Friday 13th July 2018, which does have an air of unluckiness to it! But – thank goodness – it turned out to be a brilliantly lucky day for me! I had made it through my Physics degree and it was not an easy ride! This week I want to look back and discuss the uncertainty of what to do after you finish uni, how plans almost definitely change and ultimately how I think I have positively changed and grown as a result!

To anyone out there who is in limbo or uncertain about how the future is going to pan out (particularly if your plans have had to change because of the current global situation we are in) I hope reading about my confused, tumultuous story gives you some hope! That sometimes although things might not go to plan, (and sometimes the plan goes completely out the window) – you will hopefully end up somewhere you love in the end!

So rewind to 2 years ago. It is the beginning of 2018 and I am in the final year of my Physics degree. I am revising for my January exams, halfway through my final year, and it is TOUGH! I have a good few exams coming up over the next couple of weeks and I realise that I really have no time to do anything else even slightly useful apart from revise and take these exams. I know at this point other people in their final year are applying for graduate schemes, doing online tests and video and phone interviews. And I just think to myself HOW? My brain is so busy right now and I really, really don’t want to burn myself out. So I decide then and there – nope! I am not applying for anymore grad schemes or really even thinking about graduate jobs until I finish my final year exams!

I was unsure and uncertain as to what I wanted to pursue after uni anyway. So I decided rather than randomly applying to things out of fear, I would focus all my energy into achieving the best I possibly could in my Physics degree! And try not to think too much about the gaping hole in front of me with no plans and no certainty, otherwise known as – my future! I know that this sounds melodramatic but I have one of those minds that likes to plan things, and know what’s going to happen when! But no, sometimes life doesn’t turn out like that and sometimes it’s maybe for the best.

So my final year exams and hand ins roll around and then an overwhelming sense of relief and calm (even if it is only for a couple of weeks before I get my results!). Results day ended up coinciding with my Mum’s birthday, I was so nervous that I was going to ruin Mum’s day but the anticipation was too much and I just had to find out what I’d got. I ended up achieving a 2:1 (upper second class) degree and was over the moon! At some points this seemed like an absolute impossibility (I will talk more about this more in a future blog post).

So I finally had my degree and now reality set in – what on earth was I going to do with it? For a good few months I had been looking into potentially becoming a trainee patent attorney after my mum suggested it to me as a possible option! After extensive research I decided it really appealed to me as it combined my love of technology (finding out about innovative technologies and inventions) with my love for written and verbal communication and an eye for detail.

I set about working to get a job as a Trainee Patent Attorney and it was hard work! Filling out applications, writing cover letters, completing online tests, doing telephone interviews and ultimately doing lots of face to face interviews too. This experience taught me so so much! I did many face to face interviews and as prior to this I had limited interview experience – what it taught me was invaluable. Things like how to stay calm beforehand and how to come across as confident and considered whilst answering interview questions. The interview process was pretty intense; for a few companies I had multiple face to face interviews and technical exams!

It also taught me alot about rejection and managing expectations! Waiting for responses from employers, after applying and after interviewing is so difficult – and can be a little bit soul destroying if you get too invested in it! After some near misses, getting down to the final few candidates on more than one occasion I decided to widen my options and to consider more direct entry graduate jobs on offer.

Quite quickly I landed an interview for a small start up EdTech company, I interviewed and was offered the role! Science communication is something I have been passionate about for years and had lots of experience with (which I had built up throughout university!). But up to this point had not really considered I would be able to start a career in it! I really enjoyed the job but it was very hard work, with very long hours and no real way to progress within the company so I quite quickly began thinking about what I might want to pursue next.

After lots of research and consideration I decided to pursue my passion for technology! I really wanted to work in the technology sector and develop my technical knowledge and skills. I love learning and wanted to work somewhere at the cutting edge of technology but also in a sector that has a real world impact. When I came across the telecoms sector it really stood out to me as a brilliant option! I would be able to learn about and contribute to a sector that connects people every single day – through phone calls, video calls and messaging. And a sector that means people have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips – it really is incredible how much we now rely on the internet in our day to day lives! And how so few of us know how it actually works – this was so intriguing to me and I was so happy when I secured a place on the Technology Graduate Scheme at BT.

Over the past 2 years since I graduated I have developed so much as a person, and a lot of this is down to the twists and turns my career path has taken in that time! Back in 2018 I had no idea I would be where I am today – learning all about networking and how the internet works! But I love it and would not change one second of the journey that got me here.

I think the key bits of advice that I would give to anyone who’s just finished uni are:

  • Try and be flexible – if you get your mind (or heart) set on something it can narrow your vision and it can seem like you don’t have many options, but you do! You just have to be open and willing to adapt a little along the way.
  • Research, research, research – look into as many career options as you possibly can, try and align them to your passions and your skills. And then get applying!

Lily

2SistersInSTEM

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My Engineering Internship Experience

Hi, Maisie here! A couple of weeks ago I finished my year long internship at Boeing Defence UK as an ILS (Integrated Logistical Support) Engineer. I thought now would be a great opportunity for me to reflect back on it. A chance for me to share my experience, talk about my motivation and look back on what I have learnt over the past year. Hopefully this will be interesting and useful if you are thinking of doing something similar in the future!

I knew that I wanted to take a year out during my degree to do an engineering internship. I have always wanted to get hands on industrial experience in the aerospace sector before I committed to a full-on job. The process began in the September of my 2nd year at university. I started the application process and submitted applications for many different internships.

I applied to a lot of different companies as I had heard that industrial internships are really competitive and that I would probably get a fair amount of rejections. I also knew it was going to be long process, it can sometimes take months to get a reply from companies let alone an invite to an interview or assessment centre. To help me keep track of my applications I made a huge spreadsheet to track the progress of each application.

I used Gradcracker to find placements to apply for. You can set filters and preferences so you are notified by email when you can apply for a placement in your area of interest (for me it was aerospace engineering). I would definitely recommend not making your search too narrow, I also looked at more mechanical engineering and general engineering placements too.

The application process for most companies is lengthy and I had to put in a lot of time and effort. Whenever I wasn’t in a lecture I was applying, updating my CV, altering cover letters for different companies and answering application questions. Some companies also have long online tests such as situational judgments and personality tests you need to complete.

A few weeks after submitting my Boeing application, I got a call from the head of early careers and was invited to an assessment centre in Bristol, this included a team task and interview. Only a couple of weeks after the assessment centre I got another call and was told I had got the placement! They also gave me some constructive criticism from the assessment day about what I could have improved which was fantastic to receive. I found out I would be working for Boeing Defence UK as an ILS (Integrated Logistical Support) engineer. I was over the moon that I would have the chance to work for an aerospace company as I always had my heart set on that.

My placement was in Gosport, Hampshire so that was a massive change for me. I come from Lincolnshire and go to university in Sheffield so it was in a completely different part of the country than I’m used to! I decided to live in Southsea, close to Portsmouth, the previous intern gave me her recommendations and said there was lots going on there. I ended up finding a flat literally a 1 minute walk from the seafront. I can drive so I commuted to work every day, I got very used to motorway driving by the end of the year!

I was very lucky to be able to live by myself, I knew that working a full time job would be tiring and when I came home I would want to be able to relax and have my own space. I had never lived alone before and I ended up really loving it! I found I am very happy and comfortable in my own company. However it was a big change from university because, unlike Uni there are not lots of people is in the same boat as you, moving to a new place where they don’t know anyone.

When I started my job I was pretty nervous as it was all so new to me. Both my stand in manager and team lead were on holiday so there was a little bit of uncertainty, but I cracked on with the online training for the first few days. I felt really welcome in the team and everyone was friendly, I was the only young person in the office on my floor for the first 3 months so that was an adjustment from what i was used to at university!

My working day was 0700-1600 and I did reduced hours on Friday. Most people in the engineering office did these hours and I enjoyed it, it was nice to have a proper routine. I had never done a full time job like this before so it definitely took me some time to get used to it. And it was a contrast to university as I never had a strict structure to my week. It worked well for me as I felt I could do more with my day getting home at 1630 and the short day on a Friday also gave me more freedom to visit people or go out to the shops or cinema when it was less busy!

I absolutely loved my time at BDUK. I learnt so much from the people in my team. A lot of the people I worked with were ex-military, this meant they had incredible first hand knowledge of the aircraft and had numerous stories about their time in the RAF or Navy! The best part was that only a few months in I felt like a true part of the team, not just the intern. I proved myself and my team believed in me which is a great feeling.

Work Highlights

  • Getting the chance to go on a Chinook and have a hanger tour
  • Having my corrosion investigation presented to the MoD
  • My engine data analysis being discussed in Phoenix, USA
  • Flew up to Almondbank in Scotland for site tour and meetings
  • Presenting at the ‘Girls in Engineering’ day at the Boeing Gatwick learning centre
  • Meeting so many new incredible people, including people from the USA and Australia
  • Personal development, I definitely feel a lot more confident in myself and my ability as an engineer
  • Going to the Young Women in Engineering Awards hosted by the IET

Southsea Highlights

  • I got to fly a plane!
  • Living so close to the seaside
  • Amazing theatres close by such as Chichester Festival Theatre, Kings Theatre, Mayflower Theatre – Southampton
  • Gunwharf Quays was very close by (very good for bottomless brunches)
  • Lovely independent shops and restaurants in Southsea

I learnt so much about working in the aerospace industry and about the career I think I want to pursue in the future. Over this past year I have had lots of great experiences which have helped me improve my skills and develop as a person!

I would definitely recommend doing an internship!

Maisie

2SistersinSTEM

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7 STEM Careers You Might Not Have Heard Of

Hi, Lily here! Today I am going to be talking about STEM careers you might not have heard of before.

It can be really difficult to know what career you might be interested in or what kind of job you think you would like to do. Once I had decided on studying Physics at university I thought that would make it easier to decide what career I might want to pursue, but in a way I think it made it even more tricky! As I worked through my degree and took the opportunities to gain experience in different areas I realised there were so many more careers out there than I ever thought possible!

As I discovered when I was researching possible career paths, there are so many resources all over the internet to help you find out about careers and about how you can pursue them! One of the most useful and clear is bbc bitesize careers. You can search for a job and find out from someone who does it how they started their career. You can also search for a subject you like and then see related careers you might be interested in – very useful if you’re an indecisive person like me!

Another really useful website for researching jobs is prospects where you can find extensive lists of jobs you could pursue depending on your favourite subject at school or what you are studying at University! To find out what apprenticeship might suit you best based on your interests, the apprenticeships.gov.uk website is a really good resource too!

So let’s crack on, these are 7 really interesting STEM careers that you might not have even know existed!

  1. Prosthetist

Prosthetists and orthotists care for people who need an artificial limb or a device to support or control part of their body.

Working as a prothestist might include:

  • designing and fitting surgical appliances (orthotics) like braces, callipers and splints
  • assessing a patient’s needs before they have an artificial limb or appliance fitted
  • taking measurements and using computer modelling to produce a design of the prosthetics or orthotics
  • carrying out follow-up checks with patients to see how they are coping with their device
  • making sure the appliance or limb is functioning properly, and is comfortable
  • carrying out adjustments or repairs

This is Becky, she’s a prosthetist and you can find out more about job and her story here

2. Patent Attorney

Patent attorneys advise clients on how to apply for patents on new inventions, designs or processes. To do this you need an understanding of scientific and technological principles and processes in order to understand the invention yourself and be able to explain it to others.

Working as patent attorney may include:

  • meeting inventors or manufacturers 
  • searching existing patents to check the invention or design is original
  • writing a detailed legal description of the invention or design – known as a patent draft
  • applying for patents to the UK Intellectual Property Office or European Patent Office
  • advising clients whose patent rights may have been broken
  • representing clients if a case comes to court
  • advising on other issues like design rights and copyright

This is George, he is a Trainee Patent Attorney. To find out more about what the job is like and his story check out the video below

3. Games Designer

As a games designer, you use creative and technical skills to design video games. You bring ideas, build prototypes, create interactive narration and develop the game’s mechanics.

Working as a games designer may include:

  • using your creativity to design games for a range of devices and platforms that engage and capture the imagination of the user
  • consider, plan and detail every element of a new game including the setting, rules, story flow, props, vehicles, character interface and modes of play
  • creating a concept document and using this to convince the development team that the game is worth proceeding with
  • conducting market research to understand what your target audience wants
  • leading on the user experience (UX) design of the game, ensuring players have the best experience

This is Rhianne, she’s a games designer and you can find out more about her story here

4. Solar Farm Manager

A solar farm manager, manages a number of solar farm sites across the UK, these are fields of solar panels storing and converting energy from the sun.

Working as a solar farm manager might include:

  • Dividing your time between office-based work and visiting sites to check they are running correctly
  • In the office you could be checking power and energy readings to make sure the solar panels are working correctly
  • When visiting sites you might be inspecting the cables and electrical equipment. Including measuring the output of electrical current from solar panels, and using thermal cameras to check the temperature of the cables is within a safe range

This is Manish, he is a solar farm manager and you can find out more about his story here

5. Cyber Security Analyst

Cyber security analysts help to protect an organisation by employing a range of technologies and processes to prevent, detect and manage cyber threats. This can include protection of computers, data, networks and programmes.

Working in cyber security might include:

  • researching/evaluating emerging cyber security threats and ways to manage them
  • planning for disaster recovery in the event of any security breaches
  • monitoring for attacks, intrusions and unusual, unauthorised or illegal activity
  • designing new security systems or upgrade existing ones
  • engaging in ‘ethical hacking’, for example, simulating security breaches
  • identify potential weaknesses and implement measures, such as firewalls and encryption

Funmi works in cyber security you can find out more about her job and her journey below

6. Ecologist

As an ecologist, you’ll be concerned with ecosystems – the abundance and distribution of organisms (people, plants, animals), and the relationships between organisms and their environment. You usually specialise in a particular area, such as freshwater, marine, terrestrial, fauna or flora, and carry out a range of tasks relating to that area.

Working as an ecologist might include:

  • conducting field surveys to collect biological information about the numbers and distribution of organisms
  • carrying out taxonomy – the classification of organisms
  • using a range of sampling and surveying techniques, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), aerial photography, records and maps
  • carrying out environmental impact assessments
  • analysing and interpret data, using specialist software programs
  • working on habitat management and creation
  • keeping up to date with new environmental policies and legislation

Gabrielle is an ecologist, you can find out more about her job and her story here

Gabrielle at work, smiling to camera.

7. Science Journalist

As a science journalist you’ll research, write and edit scientific news, articles and features, for business, trade and professional publications, specialist scientific and technical journals, and the general media. Science writers need to understand complex scientific information, theories and practices and be able to write in clear, concise and accurate language that can be understood by the general public.

Working as a science journalist might include :

  • producing articles for publication in print and online
  • conducting interviews with scientists, doctors and academics and establishing a network of industry experts
  • attending academic and press conferences
  • visiting research establishments
  • reading and researching specialist media and literature, e.g. scientific papers, company reports, newspapers, magazines and journals, press releases and internet resources including social media
  • attending meetings or taking part in conference calls with clients, scientists or other writers
  • reviewing and amending work in response to editor feedback

Rosie is a science journalist you can find out more about her job and her story here

A young woman stands smiling at the camera in front of her busy desk, with her arms folded

There are so many exciting STEM careers out there! It really is incredible the variety that are available and the number of different pathways you can take to end up working in STEM!

Lily

2 Sisters in STEM

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Adapting To Working From Home

Whether you are at school, university or in the wonderful world of work, over the past few weeks you have most likely experienced some serious upheaval! One possible consequence of the difficult situation we are currently in is that you might now be working from home.

To all the extraordinary key workers out there who are keeping people safe, fed, connected and cared for – a massive thank you from us both!

The UK has now been in lockdown for over 40 days, and myself and Maisie have been living and working from my flat together. We usually live a good few hours away from each other so it has been a bit of a change for both of us! It has been really nice to be spending lots more time together – that said adjusting to living and working in a confined space has been interesting to say the least!

I have created a little home office at one end of the dining table and Maisie has set up camp at the other end. This makes for some fun when we both realise we have a work call at the same time and one of us has to shift it and get out of the room pronto!

However I am very glad for some company in the ‘office’. With the highlight of course being taking it in turns (kind of) to keep the constant flow of cups of tea coming. Luckily we work similar hours so we work in tandem – not causing too many distractions for each other! However as Maisie starts super early throughout the week she finishes earlier than me on a Friday – so Friday afternoon can be a bit of a struggle!

The majority of the work me and Maisie do is computer based, so we are lucky enough that we are able to do it remotely! We are both still working on similar projects to the ones we were before the lockdown started – so we haven’t had a big change there. However there has obviously been changes in how we communicate with our teams and how we progress our work forward. It has all been a really interesting learning experience and we are both trying to continually improve the way we work every day!

It has been a challenging process adapting to our new ‘normal’ – at least for the foreseeable future. In this strange time, there have been and will continue to be good days and bad days, but adapting to a new situation is always a tricky thing to do.

We have tried to create a routine in this strange and uncertain time to give us some kind of structure. This is definitely a help to us, it defines our time a little more. It means we know what day of the week it is at the very least – the days do have a tendency to merge together a little bit at the moment!

The extra time can be both a blessing and curse. It has given us time to work on projects (like this blog), read more books, improve our coding skills and spend more time together. However it also gives you the time to overthink things, worry and become anxious over little things that normally in our busy lives we don’t have the time to register!

Here are some of the things we have been finding the most useful whilst working from home so far:

  • trying to create a space in your home where you just do work – separate to where you relax.
  • setting a time for lunch and moving away from your working set up to take a break.
  • going outside, whether this is during your lunch break, before or after work – make sure you step outside and try and get some fresh air.
  • making sure you decide on a time to finish your working day – it can be easy to let work creep on longer than you usually would do being home all the time.
  • making a plan for what you will do after work – plan to watch a particular movie or TV show, to have a bath, read a book or cook a specific meal.

Stay home and stay safe everyone!

If you are working from home right now, how are you finding it?

Lily & Maisie

2 Sisters In STEM

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How We Became 2 Sisters Working In STEM

So how did we become 2 Sisters In STEM?

What paths did we take to get where we are today?

We thought a good way to kick off our blog would be to do a proper introduction and tell you a bit about ourselves. The journeys we have followed from school, through A Levels, to further study, working in industry and ultimately starting this blog! Hope you enjoy!

Lily

Hi! I’m Lily the slightly older and less ginger sister, I am 23 and live in the East of England. I am currently working in STEM as a Technology Graduate at BT, I joined BT in September 2019 and am absolutely loving it so far.

I have always been curious and liked solving problems, my poor mum bore the brunt of this when I was little and gave me puzzle books to keep me busy! And I’m so glad she did, as my love for puzzles helped me through years of school maths and science. All leading to me deciding to study Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Further Maths at A Level.

As I worked through my A Levels, spending more time studying fewer subjects I came to realise the majority of my interest and passion was for physics. I was really intrigued by all the questions that physicists still don’t have the answers for and the vastness of what I could learn about, from black holes to sub atomic particles.

I decided to apply to do a degree in Physics at University and I secured a place at the University of Bristol. I had a brilliant 3 years, there were times when I loved it and there were times when it was extremely difficult. But I learnt so much and loved living in Bristol a new, big, exciting city and it offered me lots of opportunities to see what I might like to do after I graduated.

After uni I did a lot of job hunting and a fair bit of soul searching and secured a job as a Science and Maths Facilitator at an EdTech (education technology) company. It allowed me to explore two of my biggest passions STEM communication and problem solving. I helped create innovative educational resources and worked on all stages of the product development process. From thinking up new ideas to testing them out in schools with young people and then fine tuning till we had a brilliant product. It was really rewarding and I learnt a lot!

I loved working on innovative solutions to problems and I decided I wanted to work in industry to explore and expand my skill set. So I set about applying for jobs in the technology sector and was lucky enough to be offered one at BT on the Technology Graduate scheme. I am currently on my first of 3 rotations and am really enjoying it so far! I have already learnt so much about the telecommunications industry and developed lots of technical skills and knowledge and I cannot wait for whatever opportunities lie ahead!

Maisie

Hi I’m Maisie, the younger and more ginger sister! I am 21 and currently doing an internship at Boeing Defence UK and working as a Logistical Support Engineer with Chinooks – so lots of helicopter data!

When I was younger I always enjoyed problem solving and building things – the classic Lego cliche applies here! My dad always tells me of the time when I was very little and I beat him in a game of dominoes. I must have always liked numbers… or maybe I’ve just been super competitive since birth.

I think I knew I wanted to go into engineering from about the age of 14, a few people I knew had done the Arkwright Scholarship (an award that encourages young leaders into engineering) and my mum encouraged me to apply for it. Amazingly I got offered it and was sponsored by Rolls Royce! This meant I was able to do work experience at Rolls Royce and I found out all about the different engineering disciplines.

I always loved making things and getting hands on experience when learning. This led me to study Product Design at GCSE and onto A Level. I always looked forward to those lessons, being able to come up with an idea and make it with your own hands is an amazing feeling.

I chose to do Maths, Physics and Product Design for my A levels, as with these I knew I could go on to apply for many different engineering or technology degrees. However I decided on Aerospace Engineering as it was the type of engineering I was most interested in and aircraft have always intrigued me.

After my A Levels I got a place at The University of Sheffield to study a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I absolutely love Sheffield, it’s the perfect city for me and I get to work in the amazing engineering building called the Diamond!

I knew I wanted to gain hands on, industry experience and to see what life working as an engineer is really like. So I decided to apply for an industrial placement and after lots and lots of applications I was offered one! I was over the moon when I got the call from Boeing as I was really keen to experience working in the aerospace sector.

Now I am 10 months into my year long internship at Boeing Defence UK and I am absolutely loving it.

We are both really excited to start sharing more of our stories and the tips & tricks we’ve learnt along the way!

Lily & Maisie

2 Sisters In STEM

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Welcome to 2 Sisters In STEM!

Hi!

We are Lily and Maisie, two sisters who have managed to muddle our way to start careers in STEM. There have been ups and downs, brilliant achievements and difficult challenges but all those experiences have led us to where we are today, and we hope sharing our stories will make it all seem a little less daunting and a little more real!

We are both really passionate about science communication, and in particular about encouraging young women to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). The main thing both of us felt was lacking as we muddled through school, university and ultimately employment was advice and honest chats from young women going through the same things we were! So we thought we had better get cracking and start something we know we would have found really useful a few years back.

We have lots of posts coming up which we hope you will enjoy on all sorts of topics! From GCSE’s to job hunting, from science events to exam tips, you will not want to miss a post. So please follow our blog down below to be notified as soon as they are up! Thanks so much

Lily & Maisie

2 Sisters In STEM

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