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By Cassie-Jo Gormley on

Where on Earth can STEM take you?

As the world finds itself in lockdown, our aim for Earth Day 2020 was to take the opportunity for our STEM Ambassadors to reflect on travel and the places that their STEM career or education has taken them.

We asked our STEM ambassadors to celebrate these moments with us and to highlight how varied opportunities can be within STEM industries.

Our STEM ambassadors are volunteers from varied Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths industries and academia who work, study or research in a STEM field. Our ambassadors are passionate about what they do and have a desire to pass on their enthusiasm to inspire the next generation.

Lynsey in Rwanda

I am a civil engineer working as a site agent for a construction company, Farrans Construction. I have worked in the civil engineering and construction industry for nine years since graduating from university. Studying STEM subjects was a key factor in getting to where I am today. In my career to date I have worked on projects throughout the UK and Ireland ranging from windfarms, water mains and bridge construction. In civil engineering the possibilities are endless, and you can build so many exciting things worldwide.

These photographs show the exciting work that civil engineers can do, transforming lives in countries throughout the world. They show a suspension bridge that I helped to construct in Rwanda. The team travelled from Ireland to Rwanda and worked with local people to construct the bridge, providing safe access across a dangerous river in the Mutovu province.

A group of people stood on a bridge

A person in high vis gear in a field in front of a tower

Carmel in Norway

I currently work as a software engineer at a company called endjin. At endjin, we use a scientific process to allow other companies to analyse their data in a secure way and get as much insight as possible. For example, we recently worked on a project where we helped a not-for-profit organisation analyse vessel data in order to detect illegal fishing.

These photos are from Bergen and the fjords in Norway. I travelled to Norway in June 2019 to attend NDC Oslo, which is a conference aimed at developers and those in tech. The conference was brilliant, and I saw a lot of excellent talks around machine learning, #womenintech and a lot of cutting-edge technology. But a huge highlight of the trip was the fact that I also took a few days either side to explore Norway, and I was not disappointed!

A Norwegian fjord and mountains

View of a Norwegian town from a hillside

Isabella in Italy, Botswana and Iceland

A woman stood on the side of a volcano wearing a mask

I’m a geologist and lead geoscience data analyst at Belltree Limited in Edinburgh. The picture above was taken during a field camp in the Eolie Islands, a module of the volcanology course I attended while studying BSc. Geology. I was taking rock samples to be analysed in the lab. My then classmates and I enjoyed it a lot, even if it was very hot and also a bit toxic due to sulphur and carbon dioxide emissions. I enjoyed all the field camps I did while studying geology, as I had the opportunity to see so many beautiful places while learning.

Aerial image of the African plains

This is an aerial picture I took while I was flying over the Okavango Delta in a light aircraft during an adventure trip in Southern Africa. It was the first time I saw an inland delta; there are only few places like this one on Earth. It was something I studied and saw only in books before I became a geologist. I was so happy and grateful to be able to see such beautiful nature with my own eyes.

A woman stood next to a glacier

This glacier in Iceland is one of the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my entire life; the white and blue pieces of ice floating over the water and contrasting with dark volcanic soil were so beautiful. I was grateful for my studies, since I could understand the natural process that shaped this glacial environment over millions of years to make it what we do see today.

Holly in the USA

When I was a child, I always dreamed of visiting the USA. In 2011–12 I was lucky enough to spend a year in Philadelphia, researching how blood flow to tumours and cancers can be disrupted, to stop their growth and make them smaller.

My research was eventually published so that other scientists could read and use my research in their experiments. After my research finished I spent some time exploring America. Here I am at Yosemite National Park. It is the most beautiful place I have ever visited. I’m so thankful that by studying STEM subjects I achieved my ambition of visiting one of my dream destinations. I now help other scientists to meet young people and tell them about their jobs and research.

A woman stood on a wall in front of some mountains

A woman stood on a ledge in front of some mountains

Georgia in Mexico

I was working as an intern for a volcanology internship in Colima, Mexico. My title was officially volcanologist. The pictures are of me in a small aeroplane flying over the volcano. We did this to take thermal images of the crater in order to monitor the activity.

Aerial shot of an active volcano

A woman taking a photo from a plane

Colleen in Norway

I’m Colleen, I’m a current BBSRC CASE NRPDTP (bit of a mouthful) PhD student at the University of East Anglia doing food security research, and before that I did my undergraduate master’s degree at the University of Birmingham in biological sciences, with my master’s specialising in plant proteomics and signalling in the lab of Dr Dan Gibbs.

The first photo is of me in waders in water, sampling for invertebrates in a pool that had opened up during the ice thaw in Finse, Norway, and the second photo is me in the GM plant growth facilities at the University of East Anglia.

A woman stood in a lake

A woman stood in front of some plants

Kirsty in Iceland

My name is Kirsty Neilson and I’m a product development manager for Marine Biopolymers Limited.

The image I’ve chosen was taken during an EU project conference (FP7 SeaBioTech) in Iceland. Part of the conference involved an excursion to visit the Golden Circle where there were interesting geological features such as hot springs, bubbling sulphur and steam vents (pictured), geysers and waterfalls. During the project, samples of heat-resistant microorganisms were taken from many of these geological sights and were investigated for potential use in medicines and new products.

A woman stood on a hill next to a geothermal vent

All images submitted by contributors.


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