My career journey as a woman in STEM

Added: 16th February 2023 by Cambridge Consultants

Rae Freestone is a Lead Laboratory Technician in the Analytical Laboratories Group in the Global Medical Technology Division.

Subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have always been a huge passion of mine – and so working at a company like Cambridge Consultants who have been at the forefront of innovative development for over 60 years is perfect for me. I was lucky enough to win an award this year for the Science Council CPD awards, but before delving into this, let’s talk about my career adventure in STEM.

Being a woman in STEM is something I am proud of, and I have been interested in science and technology ever since I was a child. I studied a Higher National Diploma in Science at Nottingham Trent University before starting my lengthy career into the STEM industry. My job roles previously have ranged from Assistant Forensic Scientist to a Product Developer. I had worked in a range of industries until I secured my position at CC.

So far, I have been at CC for five and a half years and was promoted to Lead Laboratory Technician in 2020. The variety of projects I have worked on from building a fully automated system for cell and gene therapy monitoring to enabling the world’s first DNA- based platform have been fascinating. Every day is different at CC and that’s what I love about it!

How did I win the Science Council CPD award?

Once you are registered with the Science Council, every year in July you can nominate yourself for the CPD awards, and I started this journey when I got professionally registered in 2019. I was unsuccessful in 2020, got a commendation in 2021 and successfully won the CPD award in 2022!

There are several steps that you must take to achieve this award and keeping your registration active is most important. You can do this through a combination of tasks. These include recording your professional development, actively reading journals and textbooks, attending courses and webinars, training/mentoring others and volunteering.

In the summer of 2022, I volunteered at Peterborough Cathedral during its collaboration with the Natural History Museum for the ‘T-rex the killer question’ exhibition. At the event, there was a life size t-rex fossil alongside multiple animatronic dinosaurs from various periods; my favourite was the Ankylosaurus. I was there to answer visitor questions and get them involved in the exhibition experience. Later on in the year, I volunteered again for the Luxmuralis light show ‘The Beginning’ where a nativity story was projected onto Peterborough Cathedrals interior and exterior.

In November 2022, I was invited to attend the Science Museum technician’s gallery gala in London. This was a new exhibition delving into technical roles, to encourage young people to explore the opportunities for careers in STEM. It was great to see the large number of young people passionate about these subjects. This year I will be volunteering again at the gallery gala in London to talk about my career to schoolchildren and students to get them inspired by STEM.

I had a fantastic time volunteering for both events and made a group of friends that will last a lifetime. I would love to try and win the Science Council CPD award again next year and the volunteering at the Science Museum is something that could go towards achieving this.

Cambridge Consultants has provided me with a wide variety of work that allows me to be challenged and gives me the freedom to take on new opportunities to help me grow in my role. Although, I wouldn’t be able to do these things without the support from my amazing team!

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