About the Case Study
“I wanted to be an international law solicitor. Although I really enjoy science, I really like reading and problem solving but I wasn't sure what career I could make out of it through the science,” begins Floriane Fidegnon.
“The Big Bang Fair allowed me to see what maths and physics can do in the wider world and exposed me to a range of careers… I became interested in robotics, programming, biomedical engineering and biotech as I saw the various companies who were making huge technological breakthroughs.”
“I started to realise there was a wealth of opportunities and careers out there that would really suit my personality.”
Floriane is in no doubt that the Competition set her on a completely different career path. “Now I'm applying to some of the top universities in the UK to do mechanical or electrical engineering when five years ago I would’ve applied for law. The experience redirected my ambitions and made me realise there was more that I could do in this industry to make an impact.”
While competing, Floriane and her team achieved Bronze and Silver CREST awards (the British Science Association’s recognised accreditation scheme for project work in STEM subjects) which allowed her to become a member of the British Science Association with more opportunities to engage her skills.
“Last year I was a contributor to their Essay series and a keynote speaker at the launch of the campaign. I've written for places such as the Huffington Post and have been a panel member for the Cultural Learning Alliance and Stemettes.”
In addition to the help with focusing on a future career, there’s another response which occurs time and again when participants are asked about the Competition: the introduction to the science community.
“Meeting like-minded young people was really rewarding, and it’s encouraging to know that there was and still is a support network of people with similar interests as me,” says Floriane. “Even to this day, I still speak to these people and I'm sure in the future they will continue to be there. Meeting Yewande Akinola was really inspirational for everything that she has done so far in her career and everything that she still does.”
A 2016 report1 from WISE (a campaign to promote women in science, technology and engineering) indicates women made up 21% of the Core STEM workforce in the UK. As her career moves forward, Floriane is using every opportunity to further access to careers in STEM for everyone.
Recently she was a keynote speaker at the Grand Challenges Conference hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where Bill could be added to the list of influencers she’s met to date. She’s won the BYA STEM awards, mentored a team that won the Dulux Smarter Spaces Competition, and appeared as a STEM innovator in a BBC documentary.
“I'm hoping in the future to study engineering at a top university and then find a job in an engineering firm whose focus is on development, sustainability and green solutions to the future. I hope to be able to travel and continue to mentor, in order to give back to the communities that have given me so much.”