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Mount Old Scholar shares STEM career advice


To celebrate British Science Week (8-17 March), we were delighted to welcome Mount Old Scholar Rebecca Johnson and Natasha Zelem-Sayce, Head of Technology at Sky, into school to talk to the girls about a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Rebecca has been working in the field of Geotechnical Engineering for the past 12 years, for companies including Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, Vinci Construction and Babcock International as well as in Australia with Zinfra Group.

Rebecca said there are many traits that she learned at The Mount that have helped her to be the person she is today:

“It sounds strange but acting in School plays – having the courage to stand up in front of a room full of people and hold your nerve whilst everyone looks at you, has helped me in numerous interviews and social situations. Debate society – learning the arguments for and against before standing up and convincing others that your point of view is the right one – is so important in life and working with others in a busy office whilst you are negotiating contract terms and need to hold your own in a room of hostile Quantity Surveyors. The Mount taught me about having courage and faith in yourself and your abilities, even when people question your intellect or competency because of your gender.”

Named as one of the UK’s Top 100 women currently working in technology, Natasha is a self-declared “technology geek” Natasha has extensive experience working with BBC, ITV, O2 Telefonica and the NSPCC. She frequently speaks on Agile transformation and encouraging more women to sidestep into a great Tech career.

Natasha is also the organiser of White Night in Leeds, one of the UK’s largest annual arts and light festivals, the Leeds International Festival, (a festival of new ideas and innovation) and the ‘Empowering Women in Tech’ events across Yorkshire, an initiative which showcases female role models working in Digital, Science and Technology and creates a support network for women wanting to either kickstart or further succeed their careers.

Natasha talked to the girls about career opportunities in coding and software engineering, and described all the many ways that technology is used in every day life. Rebecca spoke about how she got into engineering and how the skills she honed at the Mount have helped her to succeed in her career working in the ground engineering industry. Highlights from her talk included how she helped with building the foundations for the Shard in London, and found many graveyards and cholera pits while investigating underground!

British Science Week is a celebration of the best of British science, technology, engineering and maths, featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events across the UK. There is a Poster Competition which our Science department is supporting. Closing date for entries is 5 April 2019.