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We need to show girls that STEM can be for them

Jane Moody is Chief Inspiration Officer at Drift IT Services, where she has worked for almost 11 years.

Getting young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is a big focus of Jane Moody’s role as Chief Inspiration Officer at Drift IT Services.

Here she talks about her job, and why we need to do more to get girls interested in STEM subjects.

What do you do at Drift IT Services?

Drift IT Services provides IT support to schools. The majority of our customers are infant, junior and primary schools, but we also work with several small secondary schools.

I look after public/customer relations, social media, events and communications, but my main focus is to source and promote free or low-cost STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) resources to encourage the development of the STEM curriculum in EYFS (Early years foundation stage), KS1 (Key stage 1) and KS2 (Key stage 2).

What challenges are there for women getting into STEM?

Firstly, research tells us that girls lose interest in STEM subjects in their teenage years. They think that they have to be a scientist, technician, engineer or mathematician, but actually, there is a whole spectrum of roles that are rooted in STEM, they just perhaps aren’t aware of them or hadn’t considered them to be an option.

Secondly, a lot of the curriculum is male-centric. For example, the use of case studies of Neil Armstrong or Alan Turing while Mary Jackson, Helen Sharman, Ada Lovelace have just as much educational value, resources and engagement.

I am very much of the opinion that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and the more we show girls the myriad of STEM roles, role models and the avenues there are to get there, STEM will be more tangible and inviting.

What led you to working in the IT sector?

Initially, I was asked to provide management support at Drift IT Services, but I soon bought into the values and vision that Drift leads with – technology underpinning teaching and learning.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Being of service gives you self-esteem, but being of service without boundaries is just being a people pleaser, and that is unhealthy.

Boundaries don’t need to be justified to anyone. Within those boundaries, make your intention to always be of service, be flexible, compassionate, authentic, and work really hard.

Play to your strengths and there will always be a role where your strengths will be a valued commodity.

Also, defensiveness is rooted in fear, fear of looking silly or of making a mistake. When you respond defensively nobody wins. Take a second, be thoughtful, apologise if necessary and create a solution.

What advice would you give someone who wants to follow a similar career path to you?

Some opportunities fall in your lap and some you need to create by seeking out like-minded people. Stay open-minded and look for opportunities.

 

 

Bex Bastable
Bex Bastablehttp://bexbastable.co.uk
Bex is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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