Interview with Claire Ashworth, Scientist
What drove you to become a scientist?
I’ve always been interested in science growing up. It was my favourite subject in school, and whilst my parents worked in very different fields, they did all they could to support me studying it. I think studying subjects like chemistry, physics or biology are important as they help you get a thorough understanding of the world you live in. Becoming a scientist allows you to refine and develop your problem solving and analytical skills.
Personally, I liked how diverse scientist roles are. There is so much variation in the roles available to a scientist, and even within individual roles so much depth to the work that can be carried out on a day-to-day basis.
I enjoy that as a scientist you never know everything, there is always more to learn every day, which keeps everyday interesting.
What do you do at Evove?
I’ve been a scientist at Evove for over a year and a half now.
I work as part of the innovation team, coming up with new coatings and performing testing on various membranes. Daily I work in the lab, but I also have some time to research advances in the industry. I have learnt a lot of new skills and techniques during my time at Evove and met some great people.
Why is the North West of England a good place to follow a career in science?
The North West of England is a great place for a career in science! There are so many opportunities with many great companies across every sector imaginable, no discipline is too farfetched for a career in science on the Northwest! The Northwest has been my home for my whole life: I grew up on the Wirral and undertook my undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester. The Northwest is home to many of the greatest industrial heritage sites, from Liverpool to Manchester to Daresbury SciTech Park!
I have worked in STEM across various industries around the Northwest from the oil industry, the plastic industry and now the membrane technology industry. You are never too far from anywhere when you live in the Northwest.
How should we encourage more women to follow STEM careers?
Women make up half the global population and bring valuable insights and perspectives. Thankfully, the gender gap in STEM careers has declined over recent years but there is still much more to be done to get more women in STEM industries. There is nothing in STEM that a woman can’t do!
Encouraging women into science careers needs to start early, in school with teachers or at home with parents and guardians. It’s crucial that opportunities are available for young people to get involved in STEM based learning activities, as they progress, reinforcing the world of STEM. It’s important to help children learn the wide range of jobs and industries available to them, objectively, fighting gender-based stereotypes.
In the workplace, I think it’s important for women to have female mentors and role models in the industry to look up to and aspire to be. Work is a huge part of most peoples lives and so it’s important to feel comfortable and part of a varied team. Being around more women helps drive motivation for other women in the team especially when they see them doing well, having the confidence to know they can speak out and shine!
Tell us something about Claire Ashworth that might surprise us.
I am really interested in gardening! Indeed, I am in the final stages of buying my first home with my partner and can’t wait to have a garden of our own to grow flowers, fruit, and vegetables. In my free time I enjoy ice skating and baking. I love painting, generally focusing on landscapes specifically using acrylic. I’d love to get into watercolour painting once I have finished moving house and have more space and free time again!