IOM3 Celebrates International Women in Engineering Day

Women in Materials
27 Jun 2017

Following previous years where 23 June was known as National Women in Engineering Day in the UK, 2017 marked its expansion to a more global outreach. On a hot Friday afternoon, 55 people travelled to IOM3 headquarters in London for the first International Women in Engineering Day seminar, organised by the IOM3 Women in Materials group (WIM). 

The afternoon seminar presented a wide range of talks on matters close to the heart of many women in materials and engineering careers. The keynote address was given by Serena Best, Professor of Materials Science at Cambridge University, whose lengthy accolades have been increased by becoming Senior Vice President of IOM3 this year, as well as receiving a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Serena’s talk explained her fascinating research into biomedical research, as well as how her career progressed internationally, and how she managed to balance it all with family life. 

To inspire any women (or men!) who are currently on a career break and wish to get back into work, Mary Gearey spoke about her experience with the Daphne Jackson Trust. The Trust helped her back into work at the University of Brighton after a six-year career break to look after her children. She is now working on her plan for the next five years after completing her original plan to resume her materials-based career.

Mary Gearey said ‘I can think of no better way to have celebrated ‘International Women in Engineering day’ on June 23 than in the company of some of the UK’s most prestigious female scientists, researchers and practitioners, who are the leading lights of their discipline’.

There were also industrial career talks given by Narina Shoreland from Wardell Armstrong, who spoke about her work in the mining industry in the Russian-speaking areas of the world, and Johanna Stiernstedt from Morgan Advanced Materials who not only explained her career path but also the differences between attitudes of people and companies towards women in Sweden and Britain (after this there may be more women moving to Sweden!). These were followed by a presentation by Artemis Stamboulis from the University of Birmingham, who gave her story of pursuing a successful international academic career in biochemistry and the pressures of becoming a housewife in Greece. Thankfully she managed to pursue her career as well as start her own family in England. 

Jess Middlemiss, Chair of WIM, also spoke of how there is a drive to get more volunteers working for the Institute, in various capacities - particularly for people on career breaks who still wish to be involved in some way.  More information for anyone interested is available on the IOM3 website at

The finale of the seminar was a panel discussion, where a variety of topics were discussed by motivated women, through advice for students starting out in their careers, to those interested in starting a family while maintaining career progression, and advice from women who had already had these experiences.  A thoroughly inspiring day - we are already looking forward to next year’s event!

Many thanks to LPW, IOM3 and The Dyson Foundation for sponsoring the event, as well as to Sarah Boad from IOM3 and WIM for being the lead organiser.


Keynote Serena Best

WIM pannel discussion