15 May 2023

WiN helps nuclear graduate achieve her goal

A nuclear graduate has thanked WiN UK for our support in helping to achieve her further education goal.

WiN UK gave a helping hand to Fatemah Jafar, via a sponsorship contribution to the University of Birmingham dedicated to supporting female students wanting to study a Master’s degree in the Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors.

Creshia Jones, WiN UK’s Executive for Education, said: “It’s great to receive such a heartfelt thank-you from Fatima and also an understanding about how she became interested in this field of research from an early age.

“The course at Birmingham is a fantastic feeder course for our industry and we are working together to funnel more talent into our sector. We provide a yearly financial contribution, ring-fenced to help female students that need it. And we are arranging for two WiN members to sit on the University’s Industry Strategy Board to advise on how to increase female applicants.”

In addition, WiN’s support for the degree course has unlocked the opportunity, on an annual basis, for a couple of WiN ambassadors to attend a week’s nuclear specific University continual professional development course.

Fatemah is also a strong advocate of increasing diversity in the industry and passionate about effective communication about science.

 “My interest in nuclear physics was first kindled during my GCSEs where the team I was in for a public speaking competition decided to pick it for our topic.

“Whilst the finer details about the suitability of a certain fuel type and the intricacies of reactor design eluded me at the time, my first detailed introduction to the potential of nuclear power was enough to thoroughly intrigue me.

“Aged fifteen, it seemed inconceivable to me that the global community wasn’t dropping everything to shift towards this near magical energy source that seemed to be the solution to most of our energy-related problems. Getting older, learning more physics, and taking every opportunity I could to do structured research on nuclear power (particularly nuclear fusion- I didn’t think anything could astound me more than the physics of nuclear fission until I learnt that the opposite process also existed and had, somehow, even BETTER potential to solve our energy-related problems).

“From my own turn leading the public speaking team, to writing my Extended Project Qualification, even my choice of final year project at undergraduate may have given me a better understanding of all the reasons why a nuclear-powered world isn’t everyone’s utopian dream. But it has made me no less determined to contribute in this field and help drive innovation.

“I do still believe that a shift, regardless of its size, towards nuclear power, be it fission or, eventually, fusion, is a far better alternative to many of our current and dominant energy sources. Which is why I think it is important to do outreach work within local communities and the general population, to clear misconceptions surrounding nuclear power and incentivise young people to enter this field as well.

“Science communication is a passion of mine, something I was heavily involved with during my undergraduate years, winning an award in the process; this is something I hope to take forwards into whichever employment field I enter.

“The dearth of women in nuclear physics, particularly those from minority backgrounds, is also something I am passionate about helping to rectify – the more diversity of experience we have in this field, and the more avenues of entrance we create into it, will only enrich our work and help to welcome all those girls who are put off this field by not seeing faces like theirs in it.

“Together, I am sure we can create a better world to pass down to future generations.

“Thank you to Women in Nuclear UK for financially contributing towards my Physics, Technology and Nuclear Reactors MSc degree course at The University of Birmingham and for helping other cohorts that will come after me.”

Fatemah Jafar

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