Woman in Tech of the month: Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

By Hannah McIntosh

Women in Tech of the month is our series exploring the achievements of women who are breaking gender stereotypes to build technology-based careers. This month, in honour of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are celebrating Carys Lloyd and Julie Dimakou, our Applied Science experts. In this interview, we hear more about their career journeys so far and the advice they’d give to women looking to enter the industry.

Carys Lloyd

Carys Lloyd

Describe your role and what a typical day would look like for you?

I work on the Applied Science team at PA. I’m primarily aligned with the Health and Life Sciences sector, but my work exposes me to a whole host of industries. My focus is on how to use science to modify our environment, improve our health, and ultimately build better societies. This often means starting with an idea, through to building, testing, and finally, manufacturing a product. However, my involvement could begin at any point in the new product development process.

The ‘front end’ of science is an exciting place to be because it’s a blank canvas. At the beginning of a project, we often don’t know what the optimal answer might be for a given problem. The type of activities that make up a typical day for me might be joining a brainstorm to think up new approaches to a problem, popping to the lab to check up on an experiment that I’m running, writing a report to present, or taking visitors on a tour of our facilities at our Global Innovation Technology Centre.

Some projects that I’ve worked on include improving accuracy of measuring blood glucose levels or developing a new drug delivery device to revolutionise patients’ lives by enabling treatment in a home setting. These projects tend to require multi-disciplinary teams and involve a breadth of science which makes my role even more interesting.

What has your career journey been like so far?

I’ve always been motivated to study physics. From a young age, I was gently encouraged to be curious about the world. I’m drawn to how powerful science is. If you understand a system and know how to manipulate certain levers in this system, you can reveal dramatic ways to benefit the world. It is satisfying to work on innovations that benefit society. But I must say, equally satisfying is the thrill of making a hypothesis based on basic scientific principles, testing it, and seeing that your theory stands up to scrutiny.

Before joining PA, I completed a PhD in Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge. My field of study was shock physics which involved looking at the dynamic behaviour of materials under shock loading, and conditions such as explosive events. It was during this time that I realised that I enjoyed working with my industrial sponsors and wanted to apply my knowledge to the real world. So, I decided to segway from research into consulting. It felt scary to leave the world of hands-on research at first, but I felt at home straight away at PA. I remember feeling so relieved to see colleagues being hands on with experiments!

What advice would you give to other women looking to pursue a career in science?

Throughout my career, I have been in the minority as a woman. But I haven’t let this stop me pursuing something I enjoy. I say, surround yourself with people who cheer you on and continue to focus on what makes you feel good.

Science is a very rewarding career. It equips you with many different in-demand skills. It challenges you to think in different ways, and it opens you up to all sorts of opportunities. I’ve been able to speak about science on television and radio. I have seen an eclectic range of factories and labs, travelled, and met people from all backgrounds. Science is universal, and it happens all over the world. Science can take you anywhere, and that’s exciting!

Julia Dimakou

Julie Dimakou

Describe your role and what a typical day would look like for you?

I’m also part of the Applied Science team at PA. I mostly work in the food and beverage industry. My projects focus on harnessing innovation to enable a more sustainable future. For instance, this could mean creating a brand-new packaging film that can degrade or home compost, or might be developing a new technology to make a snack that can save energy.

Because of this, no two days are the same. For me personally, I particularly enjoy the healthy mixture of commercial and technical aspects of my work. My day can consist of meetings or time spent in the labs working as part of a team.

What has your career journey been like so far?

I’ve been passionate about science since primary school, so it was the obvious career path for me. One of my favourite things about working in technology and science is the constant learning that the field demands. I’m constantly building on my knowledge and able to apply it to help solve real-world problems. For instance, I’ve estimated that I have saved thousands of tons of plastic during my last decade of work in the food and beverage industry.

I didn’t think a career in consulting would open so many opportunities and learning experiences. The variation has been remarkable, more than I could have ever imagined. It’s also offered extensive travelling opportunities. I’ve been able to travel to South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. For a single project, I got to travel to 15 different sites around the world!

What advice would you give to other women looking to pursue a career in science?

We are at a turning point for women in science and technology where the opportunities to become a technical leader are better than ever. I strongly believe that the internet and advances in technology are major aspects of creating equal opportunities for everyone. The emergence of resources such as virtual degrees and qualifications targeted to various levels of experiences are a step towards tackling inequality. This isn’t just limited to gender - but also race, age, and social background too.

About the authors

Hannah McIntosh PA digital expert

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.