Omodele ‘Dele’ Ashiru, Principal Scientist at Abcam, and volunteer mentor on the Virtual Placement Programme this summer opened up her story to us and shared with us her commitment to giving back something invaluable – her time, to help students from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds gain insights into STEM careers.
Employees at Abcam have been huge supporters of the In2scienceUK programme for the last five years, inspiring local young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through mentoring and supporting placements within the company, from Abcam’s labs and product development departments to gaining insight into customer care and HR.
Dele knew that education STEM-based ventures were of value to young people, but didn’t think she would have the time to get involved. Then the global Black Lives Matter movement came to the fore. “Soon after I read a sobering article about a Black family of four that had been living in their car for months; their situation was further exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic.
I knew that I needed to give more than charitable donations and church tithes. I needed to give my time. But how could I do that with a busy schedule? The solution came from poignant internal discussions following a compassionate message from Abcam’s CEO, Alan Hirzel. This was the first time that I realised that In2scienceUK supported young people from underprivileged backgrounds.
Programmes like In2scienceUK are important and transformative. It is essential for children to have authentic role models that they can relate to. Children from all races and backgrounds deserve to follow a career path of their choosing. If that is not permitted to occur, the world robs itself and the child of limitless possibilities borne from passion.”
Through her experience of volunteering with In2scienceUK, Dele committed to sharing her story with our students “Growing up as a child in Nigeria, I never felt inferior or that my life/career would be limited in any way. I knew that I could achieve anything that I put my mind to. I still feel this way. Every child should feel that way.
My first foray as an In2ScienceUK mentor has been a worthwhile and enjoyable experience, and through my mentees, I have also learned new life lessons which will be with me always. They really caused me to pause and reflect on my career journey.”
Thank you, Dele, for your passion and lively discussions that have been getting our students to think about potential STEM career options. We are delighted that Abcam continues to support students on our programme, through mentors like Dele.