“There Should Always be a Place for Women and Girls in STEM”

10th February 2023
Anna McAteer

Less than 25% of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals in the United Kingdom are women. To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science on the 11 February 2023, Specialist Biomedical Scientist, Anna McAteer, is raising awareness of her role in science

Anna McAteer, who is based in the Ulster Hospital Laboratories, knew from a young age that she loved science.  After completing her GCSE’S, she decided to study Biology as an A Level, stating that she enjoyed learning about the body and human health. Anna knew she loved biology but was unsure what career she could pursue.

After completing her A Levels, Anna packed her bags and moved to Stoke-on-Trent to start her degree in Biomedical Science at Staffordshire University. The wide range of disciplines in Biomedical Science meant Anna studied Genetics, Cell Biology, and Immunology.

After graduating, Anna moved back to Northern Ireland as a Trainee Biomedical Scientist in the Ulster Hospital in 2017. This role allowed her to develop practical skills and become registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a Biomedical Scientist. She then moved on to becoming a Specialist Biomedical Scientist in Clinical Biochemistry via the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and completed this in 2022.

One of the things Anna enjoys most in her profession is that she plays a key part in the patient’s journey, even though she works behind the scenes. Laboratory staff work 24 hours a day, seven days a week providing results to help clinicians make diagnostic and treatment decisions for many conditions such as Diabetes, blood disorders, cancers, and infections.

Anna said, “I would encourage anyone interested in a career in healthcare & diagnostics to explore Biomedical Science. Outside a diagnostic laboratory, focus should be on full and equal access to science for women and girls, particularly in leadership roles. There should always be a place for women and girls in STEM and I would encourage anyone to go for it”.

When asked about International Day of Woman and Girls in Science, Head Biomedical Scientist in Biochemistry, Gillian Law explained, “Science was something I really enjoyed at school and luckily I was encouraged by my Chemistry teacher to pursue a career in this field.  I was never made to feel that women could not be successful in science”.

“I have always encouraged my children to do what they want to do.  Never let anyone tell you that a job is not for you. Be confident in your abilities and choose a career that will give you satisfaction and you know that you can make a difference.”