Honorary STEM Ambassador visits Blackheath High School
On Thursday 1 March, the scientist, broadcaster and educator Dr Emily Grossman paid a visit to Blackheath High Senior School. The internationally acclaimed science communicator, who writes science books for children and appears on the programme 'Duck Quacks Don’t Echo', was recently named second Honorary STEM Ambassador in the UK. With Dr Grossman being a GDST alumna and being nominated for the Girls’ Day School Trust Alumna of the Year Award last year, her words and experience were more relatable, particularly in her position as a role model for young women aspiring to STEM careers and as an advocate for equality in the workplace.
Dr Grossman’s lecture 'Too Sensitive for Science?', recounted her journey from childhood curiosity through to Cambridge University, where she experienced how isolating it could be as a woman in an incredibly male dominated field. Discouraged from continuing with Physics (though clearly showing an aptitude for it), she chose Biology and went on to achieve a Double First in Natural Sciences and eventually a PhD in cancer research.
Dr Grossman spoke about a multitude of opportunities and jobs (including acting, another lifelong dream), and her discovery that she needed a 'nurturing' environment in order to thrive. She used this when proving, in her TEDx talk 'Why Science Needs People Who Cry', why sensitivity (a characteristic often seen as a disadvantage in its historical attribution to women), needs to be reviewed as a valuable quality, particularly in Science, where the “three Cs”, as she calls them, are so important: compassion, collaboration and creativity.
Dr Grossman’s message applied to all (including those not aiming for a STEM-related role) giving hope in terms of career options, and emphasising the importance of a diversity of characteristics and skills in creating a better working environment.