On the second day of STEMmas… Dr Joanne Cooper

Second day of STEMmas

Our second fabulous woman in STEM is Dr Joanne Cooper, who studies fossil birds.

Joanne is a senior curator of the avian anatomical collections at the Natural History Museum, London. She is responsible for about 35,000 specimens, as well as the preparation and curation of new skeletal and spirit specimens. She is an internationally recognised authority in avian osteology and the taxonomic identification of bird bones. Her research interests include the environmental and archaeological interpretation of fossil bird assemblages and she’s currently working on a Late Pleistocene bird assemblage from the Grotte des Pigeons, Taforalt, Morocco. She is also interested in the history of the bird collections, and is currently investigating Charles Darwin’s domestic birds, Captain Fitzroy’s bird collection from the famous 1831-36 voyage of HMS Beagle and John Gould’s collection of hummingbird cases.

On the first day of STEMmas…. Dr Sally Bound

Dr Sally Bound

Welcome to STEMmas, our Christmas celebration of women in STEM!

Our first amazing woman in STEM is Dr Sally Bound, who has developed recommendations for chemical thinning of the Packham pear.

Sally is a “Senior Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania, Australia. She works in the Perennial Horticulture Centre within the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture. Her research focuses on crop manipulation and fruit quality in orchard tree crops, and on finding solutions to soil degradation. In particular, Sally works closely with industry to optimize crop yields and fruit quality. She also provides technical information and advice to orchardists and industry groups, and conducts workshops, seminars and training courses throughout Australia.”

Supercharge your STEM job search with our online careers fair, sponsored by Xero

Looking for a job can be a daunting task, especially when it seems like so often you’re sending your CV off into the ether. Is anyone listening?

The biggest challenge is making the initial connection with an employer, and that is the beauty of the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM, sponsored by Xero, to be held on 1 February 2018 from 09:00 to 17:00 GMT. It’s a great opportunity for recent graduates, returners, and women early in their STEM careers to speak with recruiters from elite employers including ARM, CapGemini and Accenture. And we’re adding more employers all the time. The IET will also be on hand to talk about professional development, membership and how to become a chartered or incorporated engineer.

You might already have been to a career fair or two, but the Finding Ada Online Career Fairs are different. Searching for a job can be a nightmare of nerves, but with our career fair, you can connect with recruiters at major companies not only on neutral territory but from anywhere, including your own home. There is no better way to cut down on jitters than to break the ice from the comfort of your own lounge.

Signing up is easy

Great employers and a low-stress way to get an edge with your job search, you say? Sign me up! That’s easy too. The first step is to create a profile on GoIntro, the platform hosting the careers fair.

GoIntro has a great step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your profile and make a great first impression with the employers. The easiest way to sign up is to visit the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair page on GoIntro, click “Create an Account”, fill in your details and click “I’m a Candidate”. Or if you arrive at the event page, click on the big blue button that says, “I want to attend”, click “Sign Up”, fill in your details and click “I’m a Candidate”.

Now it’s time to fill out your profile, including details of your education, your technical skills and a few personal details such as email address and mobile phone number. GoIntro doesn’t share your personal details with anyone else. You probably have all of the information to hand from your CV.

Like a lot of online accounts, there is one more step. You need to authorise your account via a link you will receive by email. That’s it, in terms of setting up your profile.

Tailor your profile

It is always a good idea to do a bit of research into the companies that you’re interested in speaking to, and tailor your profile to fit. Ask yourself how you can best illustrate that your experiences and interests make you suitable for the positions you’d like to apply for. Try to imagine what questions recruiters might have for you. Can you answer those in your profile?

GoIntro allows you to upload a project or create a portfolio, so you can highlight your experience and skills, and talk about projects and experiences you’re proud of. It’s a great way to show prospective employers how you’ve put your education into practice if you’re a student or recent graduate, or to show how you’ve grown during your career if you’re looking for a new role.

The more research that you do for your profile and on the companies that you want to speak to on 1 February during the Finding Ada Online Careers Fair, the better you will be prepared for the conversations you’ll have. Take a look at the employers and organisations that are taking part, what skills they’re looking for, and where they have vacancies. Think about some questions that you might ask the recruiters about the jobs on offer, and about their company. Employers love speaking to candidates who have taken the trouble to research the business and can talk about what they have seen and why they feel a particular affinity with a certain organisation.

And if you’ve got a friend or classmate who is also looking, make sure to let them know about the fair. This is the first Finding Ada Online Careers Fair, but we want to build this into an event that connects the best women in STEM with the best employers.

So sign up now, and good luck!


The Finding Ada Online Careers Fair for Women in STEM was sponsored by Xero, a beautiful, easy-to-use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. It has over one million subscribers in more than 180 countries, with more than 250,000 of those in the UK.

Ep 19: Entertaining engineering, home security and epigenetics

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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

01:04: Dawn Childs, talks about her work as Group Engineering Director for Merlin Entertainments Group, and why we need more generalist engineers.

28:43: Guest contributor Melanie Phillips explores the development of the first home security system using CCTV by Marie von Brittan Brown in the 1960s.

32:11: Science writer and broadcaster, Dr Kat Arney about cell biologist Professor Dame Amanda Fisher and her pioneering work on HIV, immunology and epigenetics.

Our interviewees

Dawn Childs

Dawn Childs is the Group Engineering Director for Merlin Entertainments Group with responsibility for engineering delivery, standards, practices and processes of the worldwide portfolio of more than 120 theme parks, resorts and attractions. This stretches over 5 continents and encompasses many UK household names such as Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington, Blackpool Tower and Warwick Castle as well as all of the SEALIFEs, LEGOLANDs, Madame Tussaud’s, Dungeons and Eyes around the World.

Prior to Merlin she was at Gatwick Airport as the Business Transformation Leader, leading a series of transformational airline terminal moves and capital projects and previously as the Head of Engineering, responsible for all of the infrastructure and technical services at the airport. She joined Gatwick in 2012 after 23 years as an Engineering Officer in the RAF.

In June 2015, Dawn was presented with the Alastair Graham Bryce Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineering for her contribution to the promotion of engineering to children, students, young adults and particularly women. In 2014, she was also one of the Barclays Women of Achievement, and was also made Honorary Doctor of Science by Staffordshire University for services to engineering. She has several other awards.

A keen equestrienne; she was the Chairman of RAF Equitation for many years and competed at the Inter-Services level in Show Jumping and Eventing.

Dr Kat Arney

Kat ArneyDr Kat Arney is a science writer and broadcaster whose work has featured in the New Scientist, Wired, The Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement, BBC Radio 4, the Naked Scientists and more. In 2016, she published her critically-acclaimed first book, Herding Hemingway’s Cats, about how our genes work. According to the journal Nature it’s “A witty, clued-up report from the front lines of genetics”, while Radiolab presenter Robert Krulwich describes it as “a gorgeously written, surprisingly gripping introduction to everything we’ve learned about genes”.

Follow her on Twitter @Kat_Arney or find out more about her on her website. You can also watch her 2016 ALD Live! talk on YouTube or at the bottom of this page!

Kat was talking about Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, a cell biologist who produced the first functional clones of HIV, providing the biologically active material essential to studies of gene function in the virus. She then focused on “epigenetics and nuclear reprogramming, particularly in lymphocytes and embryonic stem cells”. Currently, she is working on “how gene expression patterns are inherited as cells divide and how gene expression is changed during mammalian development”.

Discovery of the month

This month, our guest contributor, Melanie Phillips, explores the development of the first home security system using CCTV by Marie von Brittan Brown in the 1960s.

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. Discovery of the month written and recorded by Melanie Phillips.

Our links


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!