Laura Michie is a Marine Biologist and a STEM Ambassador. In her STEM NOW Q&A, she speaks about her passion for inspiring the next generation of women in STEM...
Who or what first inspired your curiosity in STEM?
LM: My initial love of Biology began in High School. My biology teacher always made our lessons fun and interactive and I was fascinated by the complexity of living things and how they interact with each other and the environment.
What was your personal journey into STEM, or your chosen field?
LM: From my initial love of biology, I always knew I wanted to study science after school. Then, when I was 17, I tried scuba diving for the first time and absolutely fell in love with the underwater world. So I went on to do marine biology at university and knew from then on that it's all I ever wanted to do. I carried on to do a PhD after my undergraduate and am now working as a researcher at the University of Portsmouth.
Have you encountered/overcome any boundaries along your STEM journey?
LM: I think the biggest boundary I have had to overcome is self-doubt. It took me a long time to recognise my skillset and acknowledge my accomplishments. I work hard and I have a great group of friends that always encourage me to believe in myself.
What is something you are working on/have worked on that excites you?
LM: My PhD topic is something that still excites me now and one of my favourite topics to give talks on. I studied the coexistence and behaviour of fiddler crabs. They are social and charismatic crabs that live in the tropics. They are brightly coloured and the males have an extremely large claw that they use to attract females for mating. Make sure you look them up!
What has been your most memorable moment as a STEM Ambassador and why?
LM: I spoke at a STEM event to help inspire more girls to study STEM subjects. The whole day had a really positive vibe and I felt like I helped to inspire more girls to follow their dreams.
Why is it important that young people are introduced to STEM?
LM: Young people are our future! STEM professionals are solving real-world problems every day and are playing a key role in shaping our future and it's so important to inspire the generation.
What advice would you give a young person considering a future in STEM?
LM: Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Follow your dreams.
Why is diversity and inclusion in STEM fields important?
LM: Diversity is vital for innovation. Every person holds a different set of experiences, perspectives and ways of solving problems. The more ways we can perceive a problem, the higher the likelihood that we can solve them.
What are your hopes for the future of STEM?
LM: I hope that we can achieve equality in STEM and tackle the stereotypes that young people are exposed to.