CamAWiSE: Connecting and Inspiring Women in STEM

by Kate Coghlan on 20 March 2017

Blog by Cathy Sorbara, Ph.D. (pictured right)

I moved to Cambridge nearly 3 years ago. Fresh from completing my PhD in Germany, I didn’t know anyone and I struggled to find a career path that was right for me. That is when I stumbled upon CamAWiSE.

I attended a Speed Networking event and, by the end of the evening, I built connections with women across the community, in a variety of STEM roles and at various stages of their careers. Not only it did open my eyes to career opportunities, but they helped me to develop a job search strategy and introduced me to their connections. They didn’t know me but they immediately welcomed me into their group and I knew I found a support system I could rely on.

From that point on, I remained a member of CamAWiSE and transitioned from Steering Group Member to Joint Secretary to Chair. It was a natural progression given the confidence and inspiration they provided to me. Now, I hope I can lead the association with the same grace and poise of CamAWiSE Chairs before me. They have given me the opportunity to build my communication skills, facilitate meetings and strategically plan and organize events, all in a safe and encouraging environment. And they continue to inspire me.

Recently at our Annual General Meeting our guest speaker and CamAWiSE member, Deborah Pardo, spoke about her 3-week journey to Antarctica as part of Homeward Bound, an initiative, turned global movement, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women scientists in order to influence policy and decision making as it shapes our planet. Her inspiring words spoke to me and I knew I had to be a part of the journey myself. She guided me through the application, due shortly following her talk, and I was awarded a place just one-week following. Now, as I brainstorm funding opportunities to support my Antarctic journey, I again find myself humbled by the generosity and support of our members as they encourage me in my pursuit.

Last week, we ran the third of our 4-part WiSE UP Workshop series, focusing on mentorship and facilitated by Natacha Wilson. It was very fitting to discuss the importance of female mentorship to help one another gain confidence, develop ideas and pursue our professional and personal goals.

I truly believe CamAWiSE is place to connect and inspire women in STEM, at any stage of their career and invite students of Lucy Cavendish College to come and be a part of this community that has provided so much value to me.

All CamAWiSE events are hosted at Lucy Cavendish College (photo of an event below). Students can become a member of CamAWiSE for only ₤5.  You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Support Cathy on her voyage to Antarctica here.

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