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In discussion with Santander STEMship success student, Georgie Woolf

In July 2019, Georgie Woolf (BSc Mechanical Engineering) took part in Santander Universities STEMship Programme, an initiative that aims to address the lack of diversity within the UK engineering industry by supporting aspiring female engineers.

Newcastle University has collaborated with Santander Universities for a decade, helping offer students opportunities to succeed, regardless of circumstance. Together, through financial and in-kind support, we help students further their career prospects through paid internships or overseas travel, empower them to make their business ideas a reality, and support their learning with scholarships and bursaries.

Georgie is one of 30 students from partner universities taking part in the two-year programme which offers dedicated financial and networking support. The programme was launched in July 2019 at Silverstone with Jensen Button. Newcastle University Advancement recently spoke to Georgie about her journey and experience of being part of the Santander STEMship programme over the past year.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?
“I’m currently in my third year studying Mechanical Engineering. I love my course and it definitely takes up a lot of my time between classes and studying. However, when I’m not studying I love to stay active and I’m part of the Intermural Netball Team, and often play with the Chemical Engineering team too if we’re low on members! I also LOVE to travel, but I’ll tell you more about that soon!”

How do you feel about gaining the Santander STEMship?
“It was just great, I was very overwhelmed but so happy! I’ve never had academic recognition in this way before, therefore it was a big surprise! I received a scholarship at the end of first year for academic excellence in female students in Mechanical Engineering and just couldn’t believe it.

“Since then, my confidence has increased so much. One of the requirements for the Santander STEMship was to achieve academic excellence and I was thrilled when the Head of Engineering emailed me advising me to apply. I can’t stop gushing about it all!”

Could you tell our community a little more about the Santander STEMship?
“The scheme, created by Santander, is a collaboration with many UK universities. The main focus is to support and sponsor women in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering, in order to give them a kick-start into their chosen career path.

“There are so many benefits which come with the scheme, including a 10-week paid internship, an international trip (which we’ve had a tip could be America!), and a year in industry.”

What have you done since starting your journey with Santander, and what are your future plans?
“One of the first opportunities I had after beginning my Santander STEMship journey was an IME networking day in London. This day was a brilliant opportunity to meet some of the most insightful and successful people in the field, including Dr Anne Stevens (former CEO of global engineering business GKN) – someone I personally admire! We received tips and tricks on how to succeed in engineering.

“After graduating I am very keen to do a Masters, though I’d like to do a year in industry first – I’d love to do this in Australia! It would be the dream to go there for 8-10 months and get real experience of what it’s like to work in engineering, before returning to the UK.

“I’m originally from Manchester, but definitely want to get experience working globally! I’ve loved being at Newcastle as it’s allowed me to see a different city. The STEMship will hopefully help me get experience working in London too, which will be amazing!”

How has it benefitted your personal and University life?
“The programme has benefitted me in so many ways! One of the biggest changes has been how much my confidence has increased since receiving the STEMship, and the scholarship from Newcastle University. Compared to my confidence in the first year of my degree I feel so much better about my studies and career options!

“As well as this, the career opportunities which come with the programme have definitely taken the pressure off getting a job after graduating. It’s a brilliant thing to put on my CV and tell employers about when in an interview.”

What advice would you give to students looking at a potential career in STEM?
“It’s really hard work, especially 2nd year! As with many courses, there was a huge step up from 1st year to 2nd year and it was very maths-based which was difficult.

“However, it was definitely manageable if you work hard, take advantage of opportunities which you’re given, and keep up to date with research in your field.

“Also, something I think is really important is not to be put off - there are less women in STEM subjects as a whole, so if you’re a woman in the field why not use this as further motivation to succeed? There is no difference between men and women and I encourage everyone to go for a career in STEM if it’s something you’re enthusiastic about and ready to work for!”


Find out more about Santander Universities in partnership with Newcastle University and how your donations have supported our students.

published on: 8 April 2020