Q&A – IOM3Pride Chair Emily Radley
Natalie Daniels speaks to IOM3Pride Chair Emily Radley about her career background, and her aims and goals for the group.
Tell me about your background
I’m originally a Chemist, I did my first degree at Sussex University, UK. I’ve always been interested in science and chemistry piqued my love of analytical science – this still very much governs my outlook. While I enjoyed studying Chemistry, I had a growing desire to apply the knowledge I’d learnt and undertake more practical work. I worked as a lab technician alongside my studies and so have always felt at home in the lab. This led me to Swansea, where I started my EngD in Materials Engineering. I went onto work for a manufacturing start-up, called Hexigone, which gave me the chance to develop my industrial understanding and contribute to developing a novel product for the coatings market. I finished my time with Hexigone and also completed my doctorate earlier this year. I’m hopefully starting a role in the civil service later this year.
How did you become involved with IOM3?
Swansea University supported me joining IOM3 when I started my doctorate. I then became involved in South Wales Materials Association (SWMA), which is the IOM3 Local Society in Swansea. Being part of SWMA enabled me to do more with IOM3, including setting up IOM3Pride.
What were you most looking forward to about becoming Chair of the LGBTQ+ Committee?
Being able to advocate for some of the most overlooked people within the engineering sector and STEM more generally. Both first and second-hand experiences, alongside the limited statistics that do exist, give a pretty grim picture for being intersectional within engineering.
What are your goals for the group?
My overall goal for IOM3Pride is achieving equality of opportunity professionally for LGBTQA+ identifying IOM3 members. This is an ambitious long-term goal and will hopefully be part of wider inclusion and diversity efforts from IOM3.
In the shorter term, one of our most important goals is to find out explicitly what support LGBTQA+ members of IOM3 need and want to see the most. We also want to make sure we are starting to get a clearer picture of the experiences of LGBTQA+ IOM3 members within their work and studies. With this understanding, we can move forward providing support and working to make the changes that lead to equity – be it adapting policies or running awareness courses, for instance. My personal view is that connecting LGBTQA+ IOM3 members with each other is going to be incredibly beneficial. I also think increasing the understanding of protected characteristics, including LGBTQA+ relevant ones for the whole membership is a vital function IOM3Pride can fulfil.
What do you feel are the main priorities for IOM3 going forward?
Generally propelling the materials, minerals and mining sectors into the 21st Century. I think IOM3 has a key role in leading our industries and institutions in making the improvements needed to address the global challenges that STEM will be fundamental in resolving. Part of this is improving data for divergent and protected characteristic groups to ensure that STEM is a place that everyone can study and work in comfortably, without the fear of harassment, assault or bullying. For more information on data disparity for LGBT+ in STEM, see page 19 in June issue of Materials World.