Patricia Kelly is a third year student studying Biochemistry and Immunology at Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences and is currently taking part in the STEMAspire programme. STEMAspire is a year-long mentoring programme led by global technology giant Dell. The programme is for undergraduate female students and was created to help tackle gender inequalities in the technology sector. Patricia has received one-to-one mentoring, as well as attending various on-site events with Dell. Patricia shares her STEMAspire experience so far.
Throughout my STEMAspire journey I have progressed hugely. My confidence has grown, and I have developed various skill sets through regular, 1-2-1 meetings with my mentor and STEMAspire professional skills development workshops. The challenges I have been faced with in previous months have been difficult but definitely worthwhile, and I am excited to share my experience.
One of the main things I wanted to work on was presentation skills, as I had recognised this as something of great importance and useful in a massive range of situations. With my mentor I completed a session on presentation skills, in which we explored the idea of presenting in front of groups of people and receiving feedback. Key lessons I took away from this include unlocking the power of your voice by using the right volume, tempo and tone; engaging the audience and building enthusiasm; and achieving a dynamic presence through eye contact and body language.
Communication, in its many forms, is vital in all aspects of life. I therefore decided it would be in my best efforts to work with my mentor to develop this skill and improve my communication style. Working on an elevator pitch for a self-introduction and writing a clear personal statement are examples of things I undertook in order to do this.
Interviews and Spring Internship
With help and feedback from my mentor in interview practice I found myself able to confidently answer interview questions and show my true self. This is something I struggled to do in the past. Shortly after this I had an interview for a spring internship in London with TeachFirst; an opportunity for me to showcase what I had learned. I was delighted to be successfully offered a place on this internship programme, and even more thrilled to be the first person from Strathclyde to complete it! This was an amazing opportunity, which would not have been possible without the guidance I received by my STEMAspire mentor.
“I was excited to meet Patricia at the first STEM Aspire event in October 2018 and started to discuss key goals and development plan for the year. I’m delighted to see the quarterly events and workshops supported Patricia’s development, interviews, achievements and recent internship. Working with and learning from Patricia and the STEM Aspire program has been great for my personal and professional development. It’s been a fantastic experience so far and as we enter the last few months of this year’s program, I look forward to learning more!” – Christos Tiropoulos, Mentor
What I have learned through the STEMAspire programme has not only helped me secure an internship, it has taught me to utilise the transferable skills both in and out with university. For example, I participated in Strathclyde’s 2019 Enterprise pathway. The skills I had previously developed put me in a great position to take part in this competition, even without having any prior business knowledge. My team and I progressed through to the final, and the final pitch allowed me to utilise all the information and skills I had built up over the past few months.
As I enter the final few months of my mentorship programme, I aim to complete the remaining goals I set myself at the beginning of the year. As I look back to when I wrote my first blog about the STEMAspire programme back in November, I have come to realise just how much I have progressed in a short space of time. The information I have learned and the experiences I have had are things which will stick with me throughout my life.