Here at TSP Projects we’re passionate about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) sector and we have some keen employees who are passionate about showing what is possible in this exciting field, whether it be at events such as the Big Bang Fair, or in local schools. In this series, we’re going to be talking to some of our ambassadors and finding out more about what they do.

In this interview, we spoke with Sarah Murdoch who is an experienced Environmental Consultant with 17 years experience in environmental protection and is one of our Ambassadors. Here, she gives us some insights into what got her into STEM and the importance of being an ambassador. 

Sarah Murdoch (pictured right) with Jane Brewley at the Big Bang Fair.

What was your journey into STEM? Were you encouraged into the STEM field by your teachers?

I learned the hard way.  As a teenager I followed the crowd and did the subjects everyone else wanted me to do instead of the science and geography I loved.  So I initially had a job in an office based secretarial role for 9 years before I decided enough was enough and did some A levels and a degree.  That got me the job of my dreams in 2001 working on the Channel Tunnel. 

What led you to becoming a STEM ambassador?

I was interested in doing STEM activities when I found out about it approximately 4 years ago whilst working in the construction industry.  As I’d obtained my STEM position fairly late on in my career, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to educate young students in the STEM subjects and the possibilities that could hold for their future.  Its important future students don’t waste time and make the mistake I made.

What’s one of the best things you’ve gained from being a STEM ambassador for TSP Projects?

One of the best things is giving back to the community. It’s an opportunity to share your expertise and it helps young people understand the breadth and knowledge of subjects they can learn to prepare them for their future studies.  Its also an opportunity to meet with schools and other organisations and strengthen our relationships within the community.

Plus it makes you feel good!

You work a lot with schools and academies, what’s one of the challenges they face when trying to encourage kids into STEM?

Mainly it’s removing the idea that science is for boys and to encourage girls to follow the subjects they like and are passionate about and not to be swayed by peer pressure to do the subjects their friends like.  It’s okay to be different.

What are some fun things that schools do to encourage STEM among both male and female students?

The “People like Me” initiative where students get to meet professionals in different sectors and disciplines and guess what kind of jobs they do.  It can be a real surprise when students find out that a females can be a scientists, geologists or ecologists.

What are your future hopes for the STEM sector and your career in this field?

In the future I hope STEM continues to grow and businesses continue to support the subjects and recruit a more diverse workforce to reflect all genders.  Personally, I pledge to increase my STEM work and continue to engage with young people and encourage them to push themselves into subjects and careers they will enjoy and find rewarding.