Meet Alessia – In2scienceUK STEM Journey

While my degree was not traditionally STEM based, it has still allowed me to establish myself in a career in the STEM industry and support technical developments which have an impact on the world around us.

At school I enjoyed a variety of subjects, particularly biology and politics. I believe that studying the STEM subjects of Biology and Chemistry alongside History and Politics at AS-level was beneficial to me across Sixth Form and my degree, equipping me well to work with data, statistics and theories in my classes and during my degree.

My understanding of these subjects still helps me in my career today, as I can draw on my knowledge of Chemistry to understand the principles of nuclear technologies, while my interest in biology has helped me get involved in and understand sustainability projects in the industry.

Studying Politics and International Relations at University, I had not considered that I may go into a STEM based role once I had graduated, as I wasn’t sure what skills I could bring to the industry. However, across STEM industries there are a variety of interesting jobs, and within these soft skills such as communication and teamwork are crucial to getting the job done. My current role is as an International Civil Nuclear Policy Advisor at the Department for Business Energy and Industry, the government department which deals science, research and innovation, including around energy production and climate change. Since starting this role it has been exciting to see how Politics and scientific innovation work together, to develop the best new innovations while working out how these developments can improve the day to day lives of people in the UK and how we can fund these. Previously I have worked on projects looking at how companies can reduce their carbon outputs to mitigate climate change and how to safely store nuclear fuels.

The highlight of my work so far has been attending to COP26 Conference in Glasgow last year. This was a huge meeting of different countries from across the world to discuss how to tackle climate change effectively. I was able to attend scientific presentations, discuss innovations and present my work to politicians and scientists from across the world. This was a unique opportunity, and it was inspiring to see how STEM professionals work to tackle real problems and seek to prioritise positive change and innovation over politics.

In2scienceUK run a fantastic programme and it is fantastic to seem them empowering young people from low-income backgrounds to achieve their potential in STEM. From my own experience I know how important real life, practical engagement with subjects and industry is in inspiring the next generation, and so the significance of the opportunities they offer should not be understated.