Meet Rachael Elder from University of Sheffield

 February 09, 2016

Meet Rachael, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield. “One of the great things about my research is that I can explain it to anybody I meet,” says Rachael.

Rachael has always loved STEM subjects and enjoyed Maths, Chemistry and Physics at school. “I knew I wanted to do something Science-y when I went to University. Both my parents are Scientists and Engineers so I think they both really inspired me at home. When I went to University, I started studying Natural Sciences and then I moved into Chemical Engineering in the second year as I realised what I enjoyed the most was the application of the science and not just the science itself,” Rachael explains.

Supporting women in engineering

Since then Rachael has not just excelled in chemical engineering, she has also become the University’s Faculty Director of the Women in Engineering initiative.

A hub for talented females

The University of Sheffield is a hub for talented females in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) professions. The Women in Engineering initiative, led by Rachael and Sue Armstrong, builds the University’s reputation as a place of excellence for female engineers and contributes to wider understandings about
engineering and its impact on the world.

Under Rachael’s directorship, The University of Sheffield was recently presented with a silver institutional Athena SWAN award, recognising its ongoing commitment to gender equality. The University of Sheffield is now one of nine of an elite group of universities holding silver institution awards.

A supportive environment

The University offers a supportive environment and excellent employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology, in higher education and research - both in academic and operational roles.

Rachael recognises the support she has received which has enabled her to grow her career. “My engineering career, time competing as an elite athlete and now as a mum has been supported by the University and they're aiming to increase the number of excellent and inspiring female academics and researchers even more.”

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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