Why some of us don’t have one true calling

How many times have you heard successful people describe a moment of epiphany, usually when they were very young, when they realised what they wanted to be when they grew up? In a moment of extreme clarity, they saw their lives unfold before them, and began their journey along a very straight and obvious path to success. They had found their One True Calling.

It’s a really common trope, so common that we often judge ourselves negatively if we don’t experience it. But not everyone has a One True Calling, and that’s a good thing. The world needs people who are interested in and study lots of different subjects, whom Emilie Wapnick calls “multipotentialites”, just as much as it needs specialists. Indeed, exciting things happen on the boundaries between different skill sets and fields of endeavour, and life as a multipotentialite is exciting, fun and, well, full of potential!

Whether you’re a woman in STEM looking for your first job, looking for your second or third job, or looking to return to STEM after a careers break, the Finding Ada Online Recruitment Fair for Women in STEM on 1 Feb 2018 can help you connect with potential employers. It’s free for job hunters, so sign up now!

Ep 18: Ada Lovelace Day Live!

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Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

00:50: Yasmin Ali talks to Suw about life as a chemical engineer. 

09:20: Ada Lovelace Day Live! audience members tell us about the women in STEM that they admire.

12:15: Miranda Lowe talks about her work as a curator at the National History Museum.

21:25: Geek songstress Helen Arney performs the Element Song, with creative input from the ALD Live crowd.

27:02: Dr Brenna Hassett tells us about the stories our skeletons can reveal, and about some of the groundbreaking women in archaeology.

Our interviewees & performers

Yasmin Ali

Photo: Engineering Showoff

Yasmin is a chartered chemical engineer in the energy industry, with experience in coal and gas-fired power stations, as well as the UK oil and gas sector.

Outside of work Yasmin is a keen volunteer and dedicates much of her time to promoting engineering at schools, career fairs and festivals, with a variety of organisations including the IET, IChemE, and WES. She is also passionate about informing the public about engineering through the media, and has worked with the BBC’s science unit. Yasmin also enjoys stand-up comedy, music and sports!

Twitter: @engineeryasmin


Miranda Lowe

Photo: © Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Miranda Lowe is a museum scientist and Principal Curator at the Natural History Museum, London. She is responsible for many historically important oceanographic specimens, including specimens from the Discovery and Challenger expeditions, and Charles Darwin’s barnacles. Her specialist area of interest is marine invertebrates especially Crustacea and Cnidaria.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology she communicates her science, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC Four and CBBC. She is passionate about the role that science and museums play in our understanding of the natural world, and her favourite birds are puffins! Miranda was a finalist at the National Diversity Awards in the ‘Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion & Faith’ category in 2013.

Twitter: @nathistgirl
Web: LinkedIn


Helen Arney

Helen Arney, photo credit: Steve Ullathorne

Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Helen is a self-professed geek songstress, who writes maths and science-inspired comedy songs and performs across the UK as herself, and with “Festival of the Spoken Nerd”. Helen’s first book, The Element In The Room, “a rib-tickling, experiment-fuelled and fully illustrated guide to the science that’s all around us”, is co-written with Steve Mould and out on 5 October. You can download a free sample from Amazon and preorder the book now!

Web: helenarney.com
Twitter: @helenarney


Dr Brenna Hassett

Photo: Rachel Fisher

Brenna Hassett is an archaeologist who specialises in using clues from the human skeleton to understand how people lived and died in the past. Her research focuses on the evidence of health and growth locked into teeth, and she uses clues from both teeth and bones to investigate how children grew (or didn’t) across the world and across time.

She has worked at the Pyramids in Giza, a 10,000 year old village in Anatolia, and a series of basement labs in between, and her book Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death is a fast-paced and frequently humorous journey through our recent evolution into a majority-urban species.

Brenna is also one-quarter of the TrowelBlazers project, an outreach, advocacy, and academic effort to celebrate women’s contributions to the trowel-wielding arts.

Twitter: @brennawalks & @trowelblazers
Web: Passim in Passing

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.


Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links

How does an online careers fair work for Employers?

The Finding Ada Online Careers for Women in STEM is a fabulous opportunity for employers and recruiters to talk to candidates from across the UK about graduate, early careers and returnship positions.

With the support of nearly 20 universities, including the UK’s biggest, the Open University, alongside three out of the four oldest – Oxford, St Andrews and Glasgow – employers will have access to candidates from the length and breadth of the country. We’re also recruiting early career and returning candidates from our extensive online community, and via partner organisations such as The IET.

This is the first online careers fair for women in STEM in the UK, and employers should get in early to make sure you reach this much sought after pool of the best and brightest candidates.

How does an online careers fair work?

Rather like an in-person careers fair, the event runs over a single day, from 9am until 5pm on Thursday, 1 February 2018. Candidates will request a conversation with the employers that interest them, and the system will match you up when both your recruiter and the candidate are free.

Conversations are video by default, but can be audio or text if the candidate doesn’t have enough bandwidth. You will then be able to follow up with the candidate if you want to take the conversation further.

If you want to take a look before you commit, there will be a free webinar hosted by GoIntro’s Jess Menzies to introduce the tool on Friday 27 October from 3pm to 3.30pm.

The webinar will be held using BlueJeans, which you can use either via their app or directly in your browser. To use the app, visit bluejeans.com and click “Get The BlueJeans App” at the top right of the screen. To use your browser, follow these instructions.

To join the webinar, visit https://bluejeans.com/640612605 at 3pm on 27 Oct.

Be a part of our fair

All employers and recruiters who hire a booth get 3 seats and unlimited job listings as standard, priced very competitively. As the fair is online, it is significantly cheaper than an in-person fair, with no costs for travel, hotel, or printed materials. And as you can engage with the fair from your desk, you have huge flexibility to multitask.

The online fair also allows you to talk to candidates from across the UK, all in one day, giving you a far broader reach than any in-person fair could possibly achieve! And because we’re targeting grads at bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, as well as early career job hunters and returners, you can list a far broader variety of jobs than fairs that only focus on bachelor’s graduates.

If you would like to participate in our online careers fair, email Suw Charman-Anderson now for more information.

Take a look now!

You can visit our careers fair website now, and you can see how it works in the animation below.

Looking for a job in STEM?

If you’re a woman in the UK looking for a job in STEM, whether you are a recent graduate, at an early stage in your career, or want to return to STEM after taking a break, then the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM on 16 November is for you!

We understand that it can be hard to not just find a job, but find the right job, and it doesn’t get any easier when you’re looking for your second and third jobs, or if you’re returning after a break. Searching through job listings sites and posting your CV online are both tedious tasks, and you’re always at the mercy of the algorithms used to sort applicants.

A better way to find a new job is to talk to recruiters directly, to have a conversation about their company and the jobs they have available, as well as chatting about your areas of interest and the career you want to develop. Having a video or audio chat with recruiters allows you to cut through the algorithms to make a real impression, and it gives you an unparalleled chance to learn about a company before you apply for a job there.

Talking to a company’s HR representative will help you understand which companies share your values and who you really want to work for. Because every interview is a two way street, and you should be assessing each company you talk to just as much as they are assessing you.

Our online careers fair will provide women in the UK with the opportunity to talk to recruiters from around the country, and from across all sorts of STEM fields. It’s an amazing opportunity to find out more about what employers are looking for, to start to form valuable relationships with recruiters, and to find specific jobs to apply for.

So sign up to our free careers fair today, and take the first step towards your next job!





Ep 17: Medical inventions, satellite propulsion, and imposter syndrome

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Welcome to the Ada Lovelace Day podcast, highlighting the work of women in STEM. Each month, we talk to women from around the STEM world about their careers, as well as talking to women and men, about historic and modern women’s achievements, discoveries, and inventions.

In this episode

01:35: Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam talks about how simple medical inventions can save lives, and how they get from lab to hospital.

25:07: Our Discovery of Month is the invention of the hydrazine resistojet, aka the electrothermal hydrazine thruster, by propulsion engineering Yvonne Brill.

29:22: Dr Dean Burnett discusses why role models are important, and what imposters syndrome is and how to combat it.

Our interviewees

Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam MBBS

Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam

Dr Maryanne Mariyaselvam read her BSc in neuroscience at Leeds University and subsequently completed medical training at the Norwich Medical School, East Anglia. She finished her Foundation Training in the Eastern Region and went onto a research post at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn where she led three regional patient safety projects across 11 hospitals in the East of England.

Currently, Maryanne is undertaking a doctorate in patient safety at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are in the field of patient safety and understanding errors in the NHS, human factors and the use of innovation to design engineered solutions to prevent never events and serious adverse events.

Maryanne is a fellow on Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s NHS Innovator Accelerator Programme and two of her safety innovations have been selected onto the programme for national implementation: the Non-injectable Arterial Connector (NIC), designed to prevent wrong route drug administration and the WireSafe, designed to prevent retained foreign objects. Maryanne is also a founding fellow of the Q Initiative and is a fellow on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, through which she is developing her 3rd safety innovation.

You can follow Maryanne on Twitter @mmariyaselvam.

Dr Dean Burnett

Dr Dean BurnettDean Burnett is a doctor of neuroscience and lecturer/tutor in psychiatry at the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University. He also blogs for The Guardian, and sometimes performs as a stand-up comedian.

Dean’s first book The Idiot Brain, was published in 2016, and “celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia, and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we’ve made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work”. His next book, The Happy Brain, which will be published in May 2018, “investigate[s] what causes happiness, where it comes from, and why we are so desperate to hang onto it”.

You can follow Dean on Twitter @garwboy.

Yvonne BrillDiscovery of the month

Our Discovery of the Month is the hydrazine resistojet, which was invented by Yvonne Brill in the late 1960s. It became known as the electrothermal hydrazine thruster and was, eventually, adopted as the satellite and space industry standard.

Thanks to our sponsor

This podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of ARM, our exclusive semiconductor industry sponsor. You can learn more about ARM on their website at ARM.com and you can follow them on Twitter at @ARMHoldings.

If you would like to join ARM as a sponsor of the Ada Lovelace Day Podcast, please email us.


Episode edited by Andrew Marks.

Our links