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HSE supports International Day of Women and Girls in Science

8 February 2024

HSE is proud to support the United Nations and other organisations worldwide marking International Day of Women and Girls in Science, reminding everyone that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities.

HSE employs women in a range of scientific disciplines. Here's what working in science means to three of them.

Iwona Rosa graduated in Poland with a master's degree in Food Technology and Nutrient Sciences. Since 2015, she has worked as a Bioscientist in HSE's Science Division at its Science and Research Centre in Buxton and has been involved in several projects looking at workers' exposure to airborne microorganisms.

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Iwona Rosa - Bioscientist at HSE

Recently, on behalf of the Animal and Plant Health Agency, she been evaluating a method for evaluating disinfectants against Mycobacterium bovis, a hazard group 3 pathogen that is endemic in the UK and causes significant disease in cattle resulting in financial hardship for the agricultural industry.

In an unusual project done for Thales Alenia Space, she was responsible for the analysis of samples that helped to ensure that the Perseverance Rover used to explore Mars would not contaminate the planet with microorganisms from Earth.

Since graduating, Iwona has not stopped developing and continuously looks for areas where she can improve and broaden her knowledge to become a more experienced scientist.

Iwona says:

"I am very happy to be a part of the growing group of women involved in science. Research is unpredictable, even planning it well is no guarantee of a smooth process because sometimes unknown obstacles appear that need to be solved before you can move forward. Although this can be challenging, overcoming these barriers and achieving the intended goal or finding the answer to a troubling question, brings great satisfaction. I am pleased to be able to help protect the health and safety of the community through the results of my work."

Sofia Sangiorgi has a master's degree in Environmental Science and Management and joined the Ecotoxicology team in HSE's Chemicals Regulation Division in 2021. Her job involves the ecotoxicological assessment of pesticide and biocide products by evaluating toxicity studies on non-target organisms and carrying out environmental risk assessments for organisms in terrestrial and aquatic environments.

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Sofia Sangiorgi - Ecotoxicologist at HSE

Asked what it means to be a woman in science, Sofia says:

"To me, being a woman in science is extremely rewarding because it means helping to address the challenges that modern society faces. Bringing female role models to the fore promotes equal access and opportunities. Female representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is key to a diverse, active and innovative scientific community. Society cannot afford to miss out on the benefits that come from tapping into the female talent pool."

Chloe Blackham has a degree in Environmental Science and joined HSE in 2021 as a Regulatory Scientist in the Environmental Fate and Behaviour team, also in HSE's Chemicals Regulation Division. Chloe's day-to-day role involves ensuring that the data submitted by pesticide manufacturers is of a high enough standard to meet regulatory guidance criteria. She then validates the results to determine the environmental impacts of a pesticide and, subsequently, the approved use criteria.

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Chloe Blackham - Regulatory Scientist at HSE

Commenting on the day, Chloe says:

"Working in science means I'm able to scratch that problem-solving itch I've always had. Within science, questions are encouraged to further knowledge and I learn something new almost daily. I love that my job is directly relevant to protecting our environment."

You can read more about our women scientists, and their work to support HSE's mission to protect people and places, in our Annual Science Review 2023 (link to .PDF file).




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