UCL News


UCL Institute of Neurology hosts inaugural Ada Lovelace Day event

21 October 2015


Ada Lovelace Day (main) ucl.ac.uk/ion" target="_self">UCL Institute of Neurology invited a group of teenage girls from Camden's Parliament Hill School to visit on 13 October as part of an initiative to encourage more to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The event marked Ada Lovelace Day, which honours Ada Lovelace - a pioneer of computer programming - and celebrates the achievements of women in STEM fields.

Students aged 14-15 visited the institute to find out more about careers in neuroscience and met with female scientists to learn about their research, experimental techniques and work environments.

Activities throughout the day included an introductory talk on Ada Lovelace and female role models in science from Dr Selina Wray (Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology), a visit to the institute's research labs and a Q&A session with a diverse panel of neuroscience researchers.

"Our main objective was to provide realistic role models in basic and applied neuroscience and to increase awareness that science is for women," said Dr Kirsi Kinnunen, Research Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre and the event organiser. 

"The girls really enjoyed the visit and were pleasantly surprised about lots of aspects of our work, from how much we enjoy our jobs to how many fridges there are in the labs!" commented Dr Susie Henley, Clinical and Research Psychologist at the Dementia Research Centre.

"We were delighted that a large majority of them said they were more likely to try to get a job in science after meeting us and seeing our labs first-hand."

The day saw a record-breaking 130 independent events taking place across 19 countries, marking a global drive towards increasing the amount of women in STEM.

"I think it's really important that we continue to work towards improving diversity in these fields," added Dr Kinnunen. "Key to this is raising awareness of women in STEM. Together with our Athena SWAN team, we're now considering options to develop the event and we're also thinking about other initiatives for the future."

The Ada Lovelace Day event was sponsored and supported by the UCL Institute of Neurology and the NIHR Queen Square Dementia Biomedical Research Unit.

View photos from the UCL Institute of Neurology's Ada Lovelace Day event:

Images courtesy of David Bishop, UCL Health Creatives.