Centre software engineer featured in WISE ‘People Like Me’ STEM campaign

Centre software engineer featured in WISE ‘People Like Me’ STEM campaign

Allyson Lister, who works for the Centre as an Ontologist and Knowledge Engineer on the FAIRSharing registry, has recently become involved with her local WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) network and was featured in their People Like Me campaign. WISE describes the campaign as a revolutionary approach to engaging girls with careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

People Like Me aims to support recruitment of girls into STEM subjects post-16, particularly those that girls typically do not choose such as physics and engineering. Currently physics is the third most popular A-level for boys but only the nineteenth for girls. People Like Me ‘helps to address the lack of girls in these areas by showing the girls that people with similar personality traits and aptitudes are happy and successful working in STEM’.

Allyson started out studying science, and although she quickly discovered that lab work wasn’t right for her, her studies enabled her to get involved in Bioinformatics, where she was able to combine an interest in computer science with her love of biology. She says, “Data management and standardization are vital tools to modern researchers, and I help them all find the data they need, structure their own data, and share everything with the research community”.

Allyson has been involved in STEM Ambassador work for a number of years, visiting primary and secondary schools to demonstrate some of the potential for careers in STEM. As part of this she is featured in the North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership’s 'Pen Portraits' (PDF download), which have been designed to give female students a glimpse into the variety of STEM based careers available to them with relatable, ‘real world’ examples.

She says, “Throughout my career, I've been lucky enough to work with a strong, diverse group of colleagues. Helping girls in particular - and all children generally - to realise that STEM subjects are accessible, interesting and useful, irrespective of their ultimate career choice, is vital to maintaining and improving the quality and diversity of STEM workplaces. All young children are interested in science, but as they get older, girls tend to move away from STEM subjects. It's important to feed their curiosity and ensure that they feel STEM careers are just as valid for them as they are for boys”.