PhD Student Volunteer Nadia’s passion for supporting the future generation into STEM

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Nadia Nasreddin, PhD student at the University of Oxford volunteered for the In2scienceUK programme in 2021. For her, it was the perfect way to give young people access to the opportunities they need for their journey into a career in STEM. Nadia had a great experience and would recommend In2scienceUK to any colleagues thinking of signing up themselves

“ I volunteered for the In2scienceUK programme because I believe in the importance and need to promote diversity and social mobility in STEM, particularly as a mixed-raced woman in STEM. Having moved to the UK at the age of 18 from a small city (Asmara, Eritrea), I was able to quickly appreciate the importance of access to mentorship and placements, but also how difficult it can be to obtain them, particularly when being the first person in the family to go into STEM. Now that I am a PhD student in Oxford and can do something about it, I found the In2scienceUK programme the perfect opportunity.

By promoting diversity and social mobility we are not just aiming at providing equal opportunities, but we are also aiming at making STEM more diverse, which will lead to more diverse teams, known to outperform homogeneous teams, and eventually to better representation. Being able to work in a diverse and well represented environment is very important for me. Moreover, knowing the difficulties and insecurities I had (and have) as a mixed-raced woman who wants to pursue a career in STEM, I would like to make this journey less difficult or at least more accessible, where I can, for the future generation.

Volunteering for In2scienceUK was a great experience, in fact I hope to be able to continue volunteering. I was excited to meet the students and share with them my experience and tips and tricks that I gained along the way. What I found particularly rewarding was knowing that spending a day in the lab and seeing what we do, fostered a bit more their interest in pursuing a career in science.

Volunteering for the mentoring scheme was a great opportunity for me to talk about my science and what I do in a less specialist manner, which can be extremely difficult. I was able to improve my communication and mentoring skills. But what has left a bigger mark on me is that I was able to look at where I work and the work I do with fresh outsider eyes. This gave me a motivational push, which as a final year PhD student is very important!

To colleagues or others who are thinking about volunteering with In2scienceUK, I would do it! It is a great opportunity to make your contribution towards promoting diversity and social mobility in STEM and you will have a great time.”