Girls in ICT Day: Zara’s journey into STEM

When it comes to retaining women in STEM, it’s important to support them. It’s great to get young girls excited about STEM, or to get them to choose STEM subjects, but once someone is in a tech career it's more difficult for organizations to retain those women.

Posted: April 24, 2020

Diversity and Inclusion

Girls in ICT Day: Zara’s journey into STEM

To celebrate Girls in ICT Day, we sat down with Zara Ahmed, who is currently part of AVEVA’s graduate scheme in the Cambridge, UK office. Zara talks about her experience entering a STEM role, and how retaining women in STEM is just as important as attracting them.

Can you tell us about your journey into STEM?

I think I unconsciously gained an interest in STEM at a very early age, probably from around 11 or 12 years old. I liked gaming and problem solving, and therefore naturally thought that choosing STEM subjects while at secondary school was a good fit for me. This eventually drove my decision to apply for a STEM related course at university.

During my studies, I stumbled across a WES (Women’s Engineering Society) conference that was being hosted at my university. This was the first time I was exposed to female role models, and I was absolutely amazed at the career journeys of the women speakers. I left the event with sheer motivation and confidence in my abilities in pursuing a career in tech. Because of this experience, I tried to engage in networking events, and I feel that this had a positive impact on my university years. Not only did this introduce me to prospective employers, but also gave me a chance to meet and learn from the experiences of women (and men) working in the industry.

I graduated in Computer Science from Aston university, and during that time I undertook two internships. My first internship saw me undertake a Research Intern role, with Beautiful Canoe, a non-profit organization that originated from my university’s computer science department.  In this role I learnt and built an android application. During my second internship I worked at Microsoft Research, and this role gave me the opportunity to work on application design and appreciate human-computer interaction.

After graduating and completing a master’s in project management at the University of Birmingham, I joined AVEVA’s graduate scheme in January 2019 as a Technical Graduate.

Can you tell us about your role at AVEVA?

As part of the graduate program, I have worked in the Global Information Services (GIS) and was part of the Advance Transformation programme – an initiative that emerged from the AVEVA-Schneider Electric merger to establish how we could successfully combine our products and customer processes. In this role, I was working as a Junior Data/Business Analyst. I'm now in one of the E3D development teams and primarily focus on learning how to program and fix application bugs. On the side, I have initiated a number STEM outreach initiatives, where I help the team search for new ways to encourage women into the sector.

Have you been involved in any initiatives which promote diversity/women in STEM?

Before AVEVA, I was a STEM ambassador while at university. I was also involved with the Code First: Girls organization. Through this initiative I coached female undergraduate students, who were studying subjects outside STEM, whilst they built their first website.

Last year I was involved in AVEVA’s International Women's Day event where I gave a short presentation about my journey as a graduate and how I joined AVEVA. This year to celebrate International Women’s Day, I hosted the AVEVA Outreach panel, where four female employees of AVEVA all talked about what they had done to support STEM outreach in their careers.

What do you think can be done to entice more women into STEM?

Recently there's been a huge effort from organizations and corporate companies in terms of getting younger girls into STEM subjects and STEM careers. However, there's hasn’t been the same level of investment to help retain women already in STEM roles.

When it comes to retaining women in STEM, it’s important to support them. It’s great to get young girls excited about STEM, or to get them to choose STEM subjects, but once someone is in a tech career it's more difficult for organizations to retain those women.

To combat this, organizations need to provide parents with attractive maternity and paternity packages or allow and encourage flexible working hours. It is important that employees are given the chance to re-enter the workforce while continuing to spend time with their families. However, I feel this comes as a part of a wider cultural shift whereby women are fully aware of the career path that is ahead of them. This is also where female role models are so important – organizations with leadership teams consisting of all men will understandably made women question whether there is career progression for them.

What does International Women’s Day and Girls in ICT Day mean to you?

For me, I think International Women’s Day and Girls in ICT Day is a great way to celebrate the work and efforts of women in the tech industry. Although both days primarily focus on women, I feel that they give us a chance to pause from our day to day routine and think about how we can promote more gender inclusive environments inside and outside our working lives.

author
Written By
Zara Ahmed

Zara Ahmed is a Technical Graduate at AVEVA.

Download the Whitepaper:  Digital Agility Forges Digital Resilience    

Related Blog Posts

Stay in the know: Keep up to date on the latest happenings around the industry.

Oil and Gas
Agility Beats O&G Market Volatility​

Agility Beats Oil and Gas Market Volatility​ - Value Chain Optimization can lower the risk and uncertainty due to market fluctuations during this unprecedented ...

Oil and Gas
How to navigate through Uncharted times of Challenge in Oil and Gas

Oil and gas industry has been hit by the pandemic. Safety, efficiency and operations continuity are critical for de-manning while optimising value chain.

Oil and Gas
The role of technology to face the challenges raised by the current oil price instability

Against the backdrop of the current global situation, this interview with Hege Dammen, Consulting Director for Digital Acceleration at AVEVA, focuses on the ...

Oil and Gas
Ensuring a Winning Strategy for Value Chain Optimization of the Refining and Petrochemical Industries

Learn how to ensure a winning strategy for value chain optimization of the refining and petrochemical industries

Oil and Gas
With oil prices fluctuating every minute, is your team equipped to capitalize on change?

Learn about the strategies and solutions to tackle the current economic challenges and have the capability to optimize your entire value chain.

Oil and Gas
Challenges of Achieving Value Chain Optimization in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries

Understand key challenges of value chain optimization in the refining and petrochemical industries to reduce risk and guarantee high adoption rate and optimal ...

Oil and Gas
2019 Hydrocarbon Processing Awards recognizes AVEVA

AVEVA was recognized by the best solution for Digital Twin and Operator Training, and also process optimization and plant operations optimization.

Oil and Gas
5 Tips to Make Digital Transformation easier in the Oil and Gas Industry

Undergoing digital transformation presents many challenges along the journey. It's essential to understand the issues you may face and how you can overcome ...

Oil and Gas
Maximize Oil and Gas Pipeline Efficiency with Integrated Digital Twins

How pipeline companies lean towards digital transformation to improve operational efficiency with AVEVA while enhancing the safety measures

Oil and Gas
$1 trillion to be unlocked in Digital Transformation?

Data is the foundation of Digital Transformation of Oil and Gas. Data feeds into predictive analytics, optimises process, predicts machine failures.

Chemicals
Are you ready to ride the wave of the petrochemical industry growth?

To overcome business and operational challenges, companies will need to increase their level of digital maturity through value chain optimization.

Oil and Gas
Understanding the Refining and Petrochemical Value Chains to Drive Optimization

Understand the complexity of the refining and petrochemical value chains to create a solid digital transformation strategy that optimizes the entire enterprise.

Oil and Gas
When Digitalization and Transformation are not Enough: Accelerate.

Market-disrupting industrial organizations differentiate themselves by transforming business through innovating and accelerating past the competition.

Oil and Gas
Optimizing my Refinery Blend is Much Harder than Baking Cookies

Refinery products are blended to get final products with desired quantity, quality and schedule specifications. However, rigorous planning, scheduling and ...

Oil and Gas
3 Steps to Maximising Pipeline Integrity

Ageing infrastructure is posing huge challenges for pipeline operators in keeping their pipelines running optimally and profitably in the face of increasing ...

Oil and Gas
How Can Predictive Analytics Reduce Unplanned Downtime in Oil and Gas Production?

Production can increase either by developing new fields or improving asset uptime in existing fields, but asset downtime due to facility maintenance – planned ...

Oil and Gas
My Car Has Predictive Analytics, Why Shouldn’t My Refinery?

Rebroadcast of Air Liquide's experience with predictive analytics and AVEVA

Oil and Gas
How Digital Transformation in Engineering and Design boosts Project Profitability

Low oil prices had sanctioned almost every large Exploration and Production (E&P) projects in the oil and gas industry. Today, with the recent recovery of oil ...

Oil and Gas
The Price of Optimizing Your Process Is Asset Reliability

Predictive maintenance (PdM) strategies enable front-line personnel to act before costly failures occur and maximize value throughout the entire asset ...

Oil and Gas
How Closed-loop Operations Enable Digital Transformation of Oil and Gas Fields

Today, the advancement in technology – cloud platform, analytics and computing power – is revolutionising the way how companies can leverage big data and ...

Oil and Gas
How Pipeline Operators are Working to Improve their Asset Reliability

Asset reliability is a key component of an overall asset performance management strategy. And it plays a big part in helping midstream oil and gas operators ...

Oil and Gas
Maximizing Midstream Profits with OT IT Convergence

Historically midstream oil and gas organizations have kept two critical functions within their businesses almost entirely separate – IT and OT. One of the ...

Chemicals
Operational Excellence: Likely the Most Overused Term in the Process Industries

Operational Excellence isn’t achieved overnight. It is a methodology that takes a commitment to focusing on continually improving the process, and its ...

Oil and Gas
How Virtual Reality Compresses Operators Learning Curve in Oilfields

Unlike a traditional classroom environment, the VR immersive training system facilitates interaction between equipment and environment and scenario simulation ...

Oil and Gas
How Advanced Analytics improve Margins at Natural Gas Processing plants?

mproved fracking technology in oil and gas fields is creating an unprecedented boom in natural gas production, exerting tremendous pressure on natural gas ...

Oil and Gas
Implementing a tiered methodology for pipeline integrity significantly improves business’ chances of preventing leaks

With pipeline operators facing increased scrutiny as of late, the conversation must shift to pipeline integrity. Pipeline integrity encompasses three methods: ...

Oil and Gas
Digitizing the Mobile Workforce

The front-line opportunities to improve plant reliability, safety, and profitability are infinite. Value lies in digitizing the mobile workforce.

Oil and Gas
Why IIoT in Refineries Now?

IIoT in refineries is trending fast and promises great short and long-term results, allowing for smoother refinery optimization.

Oil and Gas
IIoT: Acting on All Big Data

The importance of IIoT, big data and closed-loop operations to bridge the gap between unused data and profitability in refineries.

Oil and Gas
Strategic Implementation of IIoT in Refineries

Delivering Closed Loop Business Operations for the Refinery Enterprise with Schneider Electric Software. Strategic Implementation of IIoT - Refineries.

Oil and Gas
How are you minimizing risk throughout the three phases of pipeline integrity?

Pipeline integrity includes three phases: prevention, detection, and mitigation, which together minimize the chances of a leak and the ensuing repercussions.

Oil and Gas
IIoT: Three Trends Impacting Upstream Producers

Many producers have started looking to IIoT to help them navigate through the digital evolution and create a competitive edge for their operations.

Oil and Gas
How the Internet of Things has Influenced Midstream Pipeline Operations

IoT Internet of Things has provided increased ability to connect, measure and analyze variety of behavioral statistics for midstream pipeline operations.

Oil and Gas
How Big Data and Analytics increase Production Asset Uptime in Oil Fields?

Oil companies must continue to make investments in improving operational efficiencies to sustain and improve their profitability.

Oil and Gas
How Digitalization of Process Design and Operations boosts Profitability in Ethylene production

Learn how to apply impacting digital technologies in ethylene production plant design and operations for higher profitability.

previous next

Sign up for our newsletter and get all the latest information straight from the source.