Why did you enter the Wales STEM Awards?  

Simbec-Orion’s Director of Labs nominated me for the STEM award, which was a complete surprise and it added a really positive ending to my first year in the STEM industry. I have been mentored by inspiring individuals, which I believe is how I am where I am today – I aspire to do the same for others.

What did winning mean for you or your business? 

It was something I never expected! It will always be very special to me. Winning an award so early on in my career has inspired me to give others the same opportunities I have been given. I believe it has raised awareness that young people on the beginning of their journey aren’t limited, that there is potential in everyone when guided and supported. I hope to make it part of my own career to progress the careers and personal growth of others. It has also highlighted the important work that Simbec-Orion conducts that goes towards improving patients’ lives, and such a business is located in Wales.

What did you think of the awards ceremony? 

It was fantastic, to see what other individuals and companies are achieving in the STEM sector and to be able to celebrate it all together. And as someone who has only worked in one STEM company, it was interesting to see what other companies are achieving and what type of other work is happening in Wales.

What’s been a challenge for you or your business during the last year and how did you overcome it? 

The last year has been particularly challenging with balancing my final year of university alongside my work at Simbec-Orion. But I have many supportive people around me and am lucky to work for such a flexible employer, and I really look forward to progressing my career further at Simbec-Orion after completing my degree to the best of my ability. Simbec-Orion’s Laboratory Services has seen a large influx of new staff to become part of our growing team of talented individuals. This has been demanding to provide training alongside completing the existing workflow, but as a team we have come out the other side and are now in a very impressive position.

What’s been a highlight for you or your business over the last year and why? 

There have been so many positives to take away from this past year. Landing a job in a laboratory whilst in year 2 of university has certainly been a highlight for me in itself. It has built my confidence in myself and in the lab, and has allowed me to connect with amazing people. And being nominated for this award, as unexpected as it was, is definitely a top moment to reflect on from this past year. It is also a big year for Simbec-Orion as it celebrated 70 years of collective experience in Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Development.

What are your goals for 2023? 

I am very focussed on finishing my degree on a high note, and I hope to scale up my achievements of my first year in Simbec-Orion. I’d like to continue leading the training of the labs department and hope to welcome and guide new staff, and create an environment with a strong team culture that all can thrive in. I aspire to help others realise their collective contribution to the STEM community through optimising their individual talents.

What, in your opinion, can be done to inspire more young people to pursue careers in STEM? 

I believe strongly in not applying any limitations on young people based on strict entry requirements as such. I was able to proceed with my degree in Medicinal Biological Chemistry with no backing of science based A-Levels, and begin working in the analytical labs in Simbec-Orion before the completion of my degree. One of my proudest achievements includes progressing the career and personal growth of a kick-starter scheme individual with limited science background, building familiarity within the lab and believing anyone with the right attitude can be part of the STEM community. They are now full-time, and are Trainee Research Scientist.

What, or who, is exciting you in the STEM sector in Wales? 

Seeing my colleagues and external connections achieving their goals, and the success of the different projects they are working on.

What do you think could be done to help the STEM sector in Wales? 

I think there could be more awareness regarding the wide variety of careers that can be had in the STEM industry, the Wales STEM Awards itself is a great example. And I believe many companies could be more inclusive of the individuals they employ, there is usually great potential where you least expect to find it. I hope that with Simbec-Orion, we can build connections with local education institutions and enlighten others on the many different career paths the STEM industry has to offer.