Essex Women in STEM

We’re always so proud to share stories of Essex alumnae working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), fields where women are typically underrepresented and in-demand.

Afsheen Rashid

MEnv in Environment, Science and Society 2001; Honorary Degree, 2017

Afsheen has spent 10 years working in environment and climate change looking to use “social energy” to make change happen.

As Founding Director of Repowering London, she was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to renewable energy projects in deprived communities and is also the founder of Tower Hamlets Muslim Women’s Collective.

She said: “We can only address the issues of climate change by integrating the environment, business, society and culture. We cannot treat them in silos. I encourage you as graduates and postgraduates to follow your passion, your interest and listen to your inner voice and your instinct. Let it lead you to achieve your dreams and more.”

Ugonnaya Igwilo

MA Public Health, 2013

Ugonnaya Igwilo was named regional winner of the British Council’s Study UK Social Impact Award in 2018 for her vital work on Ebola Virus disease awareness campaigns.

In 2014, Ugonnaya worked at the Emergency Operations Centre during the Ebola outbreak and screened over 5,000 passengers at the Lagos International Airport. This campaign successfully reached over 21 million Lagos residents and subsequently helped curb the outbreak.

Ugonnaya has also supervised the tracking of HIV patients who have stopped receiving treatment and identified the reasons why they left to encourage them back into care. She’s taught over 5,000 medical students and community health officers in Lagos and has recently worked with the state’s Ministry of Health to provide technical support and expertise in the prevention of the Monkey Pox outbreak.

Over the last year, she’s also been heavily involved in Nigeria’s efforts to fight the outbreak of COVID-19.

She said: “Being a member of the Human Rights Society at Essex built on my knowledge base and changed my perception of my role as a public health physician. This was a guiding principle for my volunteerism, community outreach planning and implementation and my health service delivery.”

Anushree Srivastava

MSc Biotechnology, 2016

Straight after graduating from Essex, Anushree secured a Biologist position with The Mars Society. Here she took part in a simulation mission in the Utah desert, a landscape as close to Mars as can be found on Earth. For her contribution to the mission, she was shortlisted as a finalist in the British Council Study UK Alumni Awards in 2018.

Since then, Anushree has taken part in various other projects to support further research of the planet, including working for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission in the USA.

She said “Astrobiology addresses the most profound question of humankind – ‘Are we alone?’ Astrobiology explores the possibility of finding extinct or extant life elsewhere in the universe, as well as investigating the origin and evolution of life on Earth.”

Find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Essex