Rachel Marsh

Briefly about UWE Meet & Greet – Dundee

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What a time to be in Dundee, congratulation Graduate Women of Scotland for hosting such a wonderful event and many thanks to all the speakers and our participants for being a part of it.

On day one, we were welcomed on a sunny weather at the University of Dundee by Dr Ajit Trivedi Director Department of Equality and Diversity, showing us no wonder why we are here, gender stuff profile being mostly women.

Then Dr Fiona Sutherland introduced UWE Board participants : VP Aisha Alshawaf with a message from President Anne Negre not being present, VP Pina Foti, Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu with a short presentation of UWE and our work, Treasurer Annelies Pierrot Builts joined us immediately after the tea break.

After Catherine Bell former President of GWI sharing her identity and her story and Dr Eileen Focke-Bakker reminding us about the most expected event of the year “GWI Triennal Conference – Geneva”, we were getting excited to see inspirational women telling their stories about how their career/life has not taken the route they initially planned.

Erica Hensens, Director of Quality & Academic Standards at the University of Dundee telling her story from leadership of a male dominated Students Union to directorship of one of the top MBA programmes in the world.

Dr Sarah Haq, Saudi Arabia origin moved to Pakistan, studying Dental Public Health, currently a Masters Student at the University of Dundee , involved in many philanthropic and fundraising activities: offering free dental treatments and helping families to have access to clean water facilities and dental health in Pakistan, calling education “a long journey to become herself”.

Angie Foreman with an impressive empowerment work with women, she has created award winning social enterprises, community empowerment models and Corporate Social Responsibility programmes for the Coca Cola 5 by 20 projects, to the benefit of hundreds of women, her vision is “pulling together “all women that want to start a business regardless of their social/cultural background or economic situation.

Dee Gates with an incredible story, changing from man to woman, today legally classified woman, somehow reminding us of the book by David Ebershoff – “The Danish Girl”.

Why My Identity, My Story? Rachel Marsh – GWS explained there will be an ebook that will commemorate the delegates who attend the 2019 UWE Meet & Greet by highlighting their lives and achievements, everyone has a unique story that has helped to shape our identity, there is still time to email it to marshrachel@yahoo.com by 10 June 2019.

Later on, all the delegates where officially welcomed by Dundee City Council in the City Chambers of Dundee and first evening ended with a welcome meal in Dundee Rep. Restaurant.

On our second day, we had thoughts from three different women:

Pushing the boundaries of forensic science and daring to think with Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee, the only woman to receive the Pete Ganci Award for Fire Investigation and the Distinguished Forensic Scientist award from the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.

What women don’t say publicly about careers in academic science, but should with Dr Ishbel Duncan, Director of Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, University of St. Andrews, currently on the Gender Pay Equality committee and a veteran of Athena Swan bids,  introduced MSc programmes and supervised many MSc and PhD dissertations students, she is vocal against stress caused by work overload, dealing with student stress and anxiety, her Labrador is a recognized therapist for use in the University.

Women in Games, Applied Games by Professor Ruth Falconer, Leader of Games Technology and Mathematics Division, School of Design and Informatics, University of Dundee, interested in the broader use of games technology including games engines, graphics hardware and related infrastructure to develop intuitive and playable models of complex systems, current areas of application Water – Energy  – Food – nexus, Microbial Ecology, Health, Social Care.  Recently appointed as an executive board member for Women in Games to ensure there is equal opportunity and treatment for those entering the games industry, she’s working to increase gender diversity on the games programming and technology courses at Abertay University.

Then the most expected moment of the day – storytelling “Pechakuchas”, 20 slides presentations for 20 seconds of commentary each (6 minutes total) and they did it admirably to the audience’s delight:  Ora Sharon,  Aisha Alshawaf, Fiona Sutherland, Rachel Marsh and Susie Schofield.

We went to hear another story about Dundee’s jute at Verdant WorksScotland’s Jute Museum for lunch and an interesting tour, learning more about women on trades, it was Dundee’s womenfolk on whom the city”s prosperity was built.

Our evening Ceilidh successfully competed Eurovision song contest with sing-along-a-graduate women, everybody singing or dancing or simply having fun.

And finally, after two superbe days spent together in Dundee, some of us went on tour to visit Glamis Castle -the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother-to recharge batteries and find inspiration for our life stories.