Founder of GlamSci
“My inside out statement is ‘be you, be confident, be fabulous’, these words hold great significance to me as only a couple of years ago I was struggling to come to terms with myself and become comfortable within my own skin.
From a young age, I was severely bullied by both so-called friends and teachers that I put my faith in. The bullying started during primary school, childhood friends began calling me words like ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ they told me no one would want to be my friend and began to isolate me from their groups. When I tried to confide in my teachers, they told me to stand up for myself, and told my mother that the bullying that I was suffering wasn’t a problem as they didn’t have bullying in their school. It was during this time that I was having problems with my health, I have a mobility disability called hyper-mobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, where my body lacks the essential collagen needed to keep my joints in place and strong, as a result I suffer with chronic pain, fatigue and recurring dislocations. Through this condition, I lost a year of schooling and when I returned I was constantly either in plaster and in a wheelchair or in a brace and on sticks.
Once I’d left primary school I started secondary school with many of my old primary school friends. I thought that the bullying would stop after starting secondary school but it only continued. After an accident when I was 12 years old during a PE lesson, I lost another two years of schooling and was home tutored. I worked exceptionally hard to keep up with my classmates and prepare for my impending GCSE exams.
When I returned for the second time I was subjected to more bullying which escalated to girls attempting to burn my hair off with lighters. I tried to keep my head down, working hard to try and forge a career in science, however throughout my schooling I was never encouraged to reach my full potential. I was told I wouldn’t amount to anything due to ill health and was discouraged to pursue a career in science. I had been repeatedly told pure science wasn’t for girls, and I could do only two things in science, be a doctor or a nurse. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was capable of doing anything I wanted.
After those experiences and a conversation with my mum, she said, ‘there’s always ways and means around a problem, if you can’t learn the conventional way, then you go the unconventional way’. I constructed a five-point plan in which I would study for my A-levels and eventually apply for university.
Thanks to all my tutors at Bromley College, who gave me the confidence I had lacked through my childhood, I applied successfully to Imperial College, UCL, Queen’s Mary and Greenwich universities. I took my exams in the summer of 2013 and achieved the grades AAB for my A-levels, and choose to go to Greenwich to continue my career as a scientist.
During this time, I began work with the Royal Society of Chemistry, I began to write a blog for them to encourage more women to study chemistry. It was through this blog, the encouraging words of my followers and my own personal experiences, that I decided to set up an educational charity called GlamSci to encourage and support more young women into science. It’s my life’s mission to make sure that no young woman ever has to go through the same experiences I did growing up. I now spend most of my time outside of university, working as a part-time unqualified teacher, teaching science and mathematics, to lower set children and SEN students.
It’s taken me some time, and I have learned many lessons through my experiences, but in my few years I have learnt that the most important thing is to be you, to be confident, and to do this absolutely fabulously.”
Read Amy’s blog here: http://my.rsc.org/blogs/96