Our Impact

The women we work with

Crystal is studying Computer Science at Newcastle University

Do you remember when you first became interested in STEM?

I was probably first interested in STEM around high school. I wasn’t initially sure, but I picked Computer Science as a GCSE subject and I thought it was really interesting.

Outside of school, I also got a computer so it opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I messed around with smaller engines such as High Game, which is for Python, and bigger more known ones such as Unity Engine and I just thought it was really fun.

I followed a lot of small tutorials. You know, experimenting with mechanics to get to know how to use it and I really enjoyed it. So, that was probably what I first became interested.

Did you always know you wanted to study Computer Science at university? When did this become a more fixed idea for you?

Honestly, it came a bit later than expected. When I started sixth form, I picked Computer Science as a subject, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I just picked it. I performed quite well academically with it and I enjoyed it. But when we started getting into A-level content, I thought we did a lot more in depth.  And we had a project as part of a Non-Exam Assessment (NEA) and I made a game and I really enjoyed it.

Also, during college, we had a lot of insight opportunities from universities and one I went to was actually Newcastle and I thought it was very exciting. So, it became more of a fixed idea around the middle of college when I decided yes, this is what to do in University, maybe also as a career.

Did you have any worries or concerns about studying at university?

I suppose, one of my issues was the distance. A lot of the places I was interested in were quite far away from home. So, it was both things. Like mechanically moving out. Being you know, independent, of course, financially. You know, could I afford to move out, things like that?

But in terms of the course, I had some minor concerns because I personally felt compared to some people in terms of interest, I decided to go on with it quite late. So, I worried that I wouldn’t catch up with certain topics. But since being here, I actually found it’s gone really well! I think I’m performing quite well and I do a lot related to it and there’s tons of support.

How did you find out about Promoting Women in Science?

Well during my summer at college, I actually did a short month-long internship with the EY Foundation. And once I completed it, they actually recommended the opportunity to the students that were in the cohort and it was mentioned that it was Newcastle and it was Computer Science. And I thought, great! Because that was what I was interested in anyway and that is how I found out about the program and went on to apply for it.

How did you find the process to apply for support from Promoting Women in Science?

I thought the process was quite good. It was very similar to well a more specific version of when I was writing my personal statement for university when I was applying,

So, I just got to talk about my interests and what inspired me into the course of Computer Science. So, I enjoyed that. The interview portion, which I was quite nervous about, felt like a very friendly, exciting discussion and it went really well, so it was nerve-wracking but it was good.

What advice do you have for others who are interested in applying?

Honestly, I think the best advice would be to just be open, be honest. Share everything you can about yourself that relates to what you’re applying for, be friendly. Yeah, just try your best.

Make sure you it’s what you really want because passion I feel is so important when you want to continue something, especially at university level, because it can get quite intense.

Can you tell us what difference this funding has made to you so far? How would your life look now if you hadn’t received this support?

It has made such an enormous impact for someone coming from quite a financially struggling background. I was always worried that when I got to University, I would have to take up, large amounts of things such as a full-time job, extra work upon work to be able to just support myself, which might negatively impact my degree, but the funding has made me feel as though I’m supported.

I have something to fall back on. Things such as textbooks and materials can get very expensive, so having something that aids me alongside my studies makes me feel a lot better. Yeah, it’s been amazing! I feel so happy to have the opportunity and I feel so lucky.

And with the course, I can just study and learn and progress without worrying or thinking can I afford it? I can just showcase talent as best as I can without feeling limited financially. It’s amazing.