Growing a network…

One of the draws that pulled me into Homeward Bound and the Antarctica expedition was the prospect of meeting  like-minded women.  Often (too often) in my career I have found that I am the only female in the room, whether that be, for example, at team meetings, as part of a seminar discussion panel or as one of the keynote speakers at a conference.  So the opportunity to join an established and growing network of women, who work in related fields and understand this isolation, was welcomed… with open arms!

This network is slowly coming to life and I’m beginning to meet some of the women face to face.  Whilst we meet regularly online, it is even better when our worlds align and we get the chance to meet in the same time zone, in person and share our experiences and thinking.

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So far I’ve managed to catch Paola Tello Guerrero (@pateguerrero) a physicist from Columbia when she happened to be up in Aberdeen for a conference. Paolo came down to Arbroath and we took a walk along the cliffs (pic right). Her commitment to creating opportunities for young people is truly inspiring. She has been active, giving time to develop and establish the Colombian Women Geo-Networking initiative, which brings women together to support one another to promote and exchange geoscientific information, and she is also sharing her Antarctica story with schoolchildren and community groups in Columbia.

I’ve also caught a coffee with Meredith Nash, Senior lecturer in Sociology and Deputy Director of Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of Tasmania when she was in Glasgow as part of her European lecture/study tour – What is it like to be a woman in STEMM? Gender bias, sexual harassment, and the myth of meritocracy. Meredith went on the inaugural expedition to Antarctica in 2016 so her post-adventure perspective, her sociological insights and her practical tips for surviving a month in the frozen South were all equally helpful! These chance meetings are invaluable and never dull, no awkward silences. It actually amazes me how we dive straight into conversations, tear through topics and part ways reassured, enriched and inspired.

23507342_380856685687936_7862568965455740928_nThis week I caught up with Catherine (@cauffiebean), from Canada and living in Cambridge, when she came to Dundee.  It was great to learn more about her work at Cheeky Scientist (https://cheekyscientist.com/), which helps academics transition into industry, and even better to meet her family and talk seasickness and travel plans!

Next time I see Catherine face-to-face, now in less than three months… we’ll be in Buenos Aries ready to travel South to Ushuaia to meet the rest of the team, the full network!! 😊 

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