Physicist gets on her soapbox to encourage more women into science

A hospital physicist will be getting on her soapbox this weekend as a way of encouraging more women into scientific careers.

Jenny Marsden, Higher Principal Physicist within the Queen’s Centre for Oncology & Haematology at Castle Hill Hospital, is one of just a handful of people chosen to take part in the Freedom Festival’s Soapbox Science event.

Soapbox Science gives some of the region’s leading female scientists the opportunity to showcase their professional passions to the general public. The event has been running in different parts of the country for several years, but 2016 is the first year in which the event will be staged in Hull.

Soapbox Science will take place on Saturday 3rd September in Queen Street in the city centre, where Jenny, who’s incredibly passionate about the role of women in science, will take to her soapbox every 15 minutes from 12:30pm.

Jenny says:

“Soapbox Science is a great way of taking what I do, and showing the value of sciences within healthcare, to the people of Hull.

“Very few of us these days have the time to sit around and listen to lectures or presentations; people want things short and snappy, so this is a great way of getting people’s attention and making sure we really sell the good things about science and scientific careers.

“With a lot of young people having just completed their A-levels or GCSEs and now turning their thoughts to the future, this is a great time to capture their imaginations and show that science isn’t just about working in a laboratory or a university. Science can make a real difference to people and genuinely save lives.

“At Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, for example, healthcare scientists make up 5% of our entire workforce, that’s one in every 20 people, which shows just how important the role of science is in caring for people.”

Jenny’s role as a Radiotherapy Physicist in the NHS requires her to ensure machines used to treat cancer operate safely and accurately. As each patient is different, so each treatment plan is like a little problem waiting to be solved.

Jenny continues:

“Having two daughters myself, I am especially pleased that Soapbox Science promotes female scientists, as there is so much that women can bring to the role. Unfortunately we often feel we have to follow gender stereotypes that are instilled in all of us from a very young age.

“Going out and talking about science and getting people enthused is so important, not just as a means of building our workforce of the future, but of finding those people who will continue to make advances in treatment  and research so we can provide even better healthcare in years to come.

“It just takes a little spark of interest to blossom into a lifelong pursuit for learning, and I hope to inspire that spark for scientific learning in the people I meet during the Soapbox Science event.”