Exploring academic careers with the Stemettes

London Met's Dr Preeti Patel, Head of Computer Science and Applied Computing, spoke to women and girls about STEM careers in academia.

Date: 21 May 2021

London Met's Head of Computer Science and Applied Computing, Dr Preeti Patel, recently took part in a panel discussion with the Stemettes, an award-winning social enterprise working to inspire and support young women into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers.

The discussion focused on sustaining a career in academia, and how one can keep the momentum going within such a career.

Asked what has surprised her most about her academic career, Dr Patel said, "having spent five years in the IT industry prior to entering academia, I was very pleasantly surprised by the collegial environment - everyone has an open and collaborative approach to their work."

She also discussed why someone might opt for an academic career over a more lucrative job in the private sector, saying, "an academic career can be very flexible as you can choose the pace at which you want to develop your career. You can be heavily teaching focussed or a proactive researcher, or both.

"You get to keep on learning all the time and the flexibility allows you to balance your personal commitments. Mostly though, the satisfaction of teaching young adults, and seeing them flourish over the course of a degree programme, is like no other."

Joining Dr Patel on the panel were Professor Sally Smith, Dean of the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University; Dr Anne Reinarz, Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Durham University; Professor Gordon Love, Head of the Department of Computer Science at Durham University; Dr Jingyun Wang, Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Durham University; and Professor Janet Hughes of the Open University.