No one she knew had attended university so Petra Louisa Kuyembeh always believed a career in science would be impossible for her Until she got an internship at a laboratory that is showed me how to use the devices and sat me in front of a microscope straight away where we examined DNA samples to learn more about the DiGeorge syndrome The person I met during my internship who had the biggest impact on me was a microbiologist whose family was originally from Ghana She really inspired me with her work and fueled my desire to pursue a career in science and she encouraged me to enroll in a microbiology course at a university A person s social and family background shouldn t prevent them from pursuing their interests and aspiring to build a career in a field based on their own interests and strengths I was also able to convince my mother of that fact and she is now taking university classes too Sometimes you just need to know someone with the right connections and experience And sometimes that person might even be your own daughter An Encounter with Science reers as scientists I thought I lacked role models women with immigrant backgrounds from educationally disadvantaged families who had suc cessfully entered into careers in science and who could have explained to me that of course I could take this path too The organization in2science UK bridged this gap for me It helps young people from socially disadvan taged families find two week intern ships with scientists The organization s founder Rebecca McKelvey came to my vocational college to present the program in early 2012 I applied and was offered a position with Iain Dykes a molecular biologist who was con ducting research on congenital heart defects in children at the Great Ormond Street Institute at the time I hope I don t make any mis takes or break anything I thought as they showed me around the well equipped laboratory It looked so differ ent than in the school labs I knew But Iain Dykes quickly put me at ease T his looks pretty expensive was my immediate thought when I showed up for the first day of my internship at the gigantic laboratory at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London It was a hot day in August 2012 I was a 17 year old vocational college student in my summer holidays But I didn t want to laze about in the sun I had my heart set on an internship in science I had been fascinated by science since primary school I thought finding conclusive answers to ques tions brilliant My only problem was that I didn t know anyone who had ever worked in the scientific field so I didn t have the contacts I needed In England most scientists have an academic background their families have gone to university My mother had never gone to univer sity she was an unemployed single parent People like us don t have ca in2science UK and Falling Walls Engage How can more people gain access to science And what in particular is the best way to reach people who rarely come into contact with the field The Falling Walls Engage program supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung creates a platform for successful projects in the scientific field that attempt to answer these questions This also includes the organization in2science UK which helps young people from educationally disadvan taged families find internships in the fields of science technology engineering and mathematics STEM in2science UK has successfully provided more than 1 000 partici pants from 326 schools in the UK with their first extracurricular exposure to professional and practical science After their internships most participants chose scientific subjects for their school exams with many of them continuing to pursue scientific careers Beginnings 9THE MAGAZINE 1 19 Te xt A le xa nd ra W ol te rs    P ho to S op hi e G re en

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