International Women's Day with Nicole Neal
It’s International Women’s Day and across the week we’re celebrating some of our inspirational women across T+T. Kicking things off we have General Manager – Victoria Nicole Neal!
A self-proclaimed “unabashed nerd”, Nicole shares her experience working in STEM, how the industry in 2021 compares to the industry in 2001, and her advice to the next generation of women looking to get into STEM.
What sparked your interest in STEM?
I’m an unabashed nerd, and it’s my awe and love for the natural world. I used to love hunting for and collecting fossils, minerals, and rocks from about the age of 7 or 8, and I had amassed quite the collection by the time I went to Uni to study Geology & Geography.
Every school holidays when my parents asked what us kids would like to do, at the top of my list every single time was a visit to the Natural History Museum in London. I love that place!
What was it like starting out in the industry?
It was great – getting paid to travel to different locations, assess environmental impacts, and advise on management approaches. I wasn’t aware that that was a pathway to me until I was at Uni.
Did you face any challenges along the way? How did you manage them?
No more or less challenges than anyone else, I guess. I’ve never really thought about things in that way, and, to be honest, I never really thought too much about being a female in a predominantly male industry really. I just got on with doing the best job I could, and still do to this day. Everyone has challenges and obstacles. This is life!
How is the industry in 2021 different from 2001? What could we do better to enable and support women in the fields of engineering and science?
The industry is far more aware of what sustainability is and what that means, although there is still work to be done, don’t get me wrong! I think we have a few more women in higher positions now too. In terms of enabling and supporting women in science? Make the connection with girls in primary school, make them excited about it, and keep them excited about it.
What advice would you give the next generation of women looking to get into STEM?
Do it! The world is your gryphaea (an extinct genus of oyster)! See, I told you I was an unabashed nerd!