From classroom to boardroom: STEM organisation to honour inspirational women at London awards ceremony

An organisation which celebrates female talent in STEM (science, technology and engineering) will welcome their royal patron at a lavish awards ceremony tonight.

HRH Princess Anne will present accolades to inspirational women at the Women in to Science and Engineering (WISE) Awards at the Southbank Centre.

It will be a double celebration for the organisation as it will also be toasting its 30th birthday.

WISE Director, Helen Wollaston, said: “The awards change how people think about science and engineering by showcasing examples of girls and women of all ages who love what they do.

“They can inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps.”

Ms Wollaston explained that some industries with a predominantly male workforce, such as engineering or computer science, put off women who would make valid contributions.

She added: “We have to change this because they miss out on great opportunities to work in exciting and growing sectors of the economy where their skills would be in demand.”

The shortlist comprises of inspiring individuals and employers who are all worthy of the WISE crown for their contribution in promoting females in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Among them is Sara Zaida from Kingsbury High School, London, who became interested in science and cancer research following her own battle with acute leukaemia.

She created a novel about cancer treatment at only 14 years old and won a prize for the national Science and Engineering Competition.

Following this she wrote a book called Tom goes to the doctor to give other children suffering from cancer an idea of what to expect.

When WISE first began only 7% of engineer graduates were females, this has almost doubled to 13% in the STEM industry with their mission to see these figures rise to 30% by 2020.

A candidate for the Hero Award is Professor Tara Moore who is a Vision Science Research Group Leader at Ulster University.

Professor Moore is one of few experts in molecular biology and has had a significant impact on people’s health and overall well being through teaching professionals to recognise, treat and prevent rape, child abuse and domestic violence.

Her research has developed treatment for debilitating genetic blinding eye diseases.

The mum of seven has recently returned from a charitable trip to the Amazon where she helped hundreds suffering from cataracts to restore their vision.

Professor Moore said: “Girls often perceive those in science or technology as masculine or nerdy.

“I hope I can introduce a bit of glamour, fun and a genuine love for life and work.”

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