Claire Doherty is one of three women in the UK to be selected for our Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary, which provides funding for up to four years of university as well as access to an Amazon mentor, to encourage women to pursue a STEM career. Claire’s passion for technology led her to apply for the Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary, and she was chosen to take part in the programme after writing a personal statement about why she should be selected.
The Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary at Edinburgh University offers funding of £3,500 per year for one female student to take up a degree relating to high-tech innovation in the UK. As well as helping finance Claire’s living costs for up to four years, we also provide mentoring on technical and business skills. Claire joins two other women taking part in the programme at King’s College London and Churchill College in the University of Cambridge.
In 2016, women made up just a quarter of students graduating from UK universities with a core STEM degree, according to the UK Higher Statistical Education Authority (HESA), and Claire feels that more women should give STEM careers a chance. “Some girls might find it off-putting to be in a class full of boys, but I think you should pursue what you are passionate about, regardless of where that is. My advice is: if you have something you love, you shouldn’t feel like gender is an issue.”
Dr. Kami Vaniea, Coordinator for Equality and Diversity for the School of Informatics, says that more women are entering computer science because more people in general are realising the potential of STEM careers. “As a growing number of people understand what computer science covers, we see more women entering the field. Computers involve everything from healthcare to all the way up to space exploration.”
Dr. Vaniea says that as diversity increases, women bring new ideas and fresh perspective to the field. She gives the example of game design where, due to more diversity, new game design has evolved from a focus on first person shooter games to novel games about sharing emotional stories.
Claire Doherty sums it up: “The world of technology is changing so quickly. Who knows where we will be in 10 years? There are so many possibilities. I want to help build that future.”