Impact - Anne-Marie I. Sums

The Anne-Marie Imafidon Women in Technology Scholarships 

Diversity in the tech sector is an increasingly topical issue across the world, with statistics from the UK and US under growing scrutiny as the numbers of women in industry appear to stagnate. Despite women making up the majority of the professional workforce, women are taking up just a fraction of tech-related roles - a trend that resonates profoundly at a corporate leadership level.

With the help of its distinguished External Advisory Board, Durham University is proud to be partnering with global tech leaders to confront this issue directly, working closely with industry to improve the diversity of the graduate pipeline with the establishment of its Anne-Marie Imafidon (AMI) Women in Technology Scholarships. The AMI Scholarships were founded by alumni donor Ian Ellison-Taylor, a Distinguished Engineer leading on Microsoft's HoloLens in Seattle, and were inspired and refined by fellow advisory board member Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, MBE, Head of the hugely successful STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) outreach organisation, Stemettes.

"Universities inevitably have a big part to play in tackling the STEM issue by promoting and supporting women to pursue subjects such as computer science at this higher level of education; that way we can grow the pipeline of women entering industry, academia, and ultimately taking up positions of leadership in the sector. Universities are breeding grounds for ideas and creativity, and by fostering a welcome and inclusive environment, we can nurture talent from all walks of life and perhaps even spot the next Einstein, who might well be a woman!"

Anne-Marie Imafidon, Head Stemette

A successful first year

Having completed their first year of study in the Computer Science Department, the inaugural cohort of AMI Scholars are thriving at Durham and have already become active members of their colleges and department. As AMI Scholar Panagiota Konstantinou describes, "I have met a lot of amazing people that have made Durham a truly welcoming place", adding that her course is "well structured, with a diverse range of modules and many opportunities for a student to work with novel technologies."

View Panagiota's submission video

The scholars have been particularly enthused by the opportunities the programme has provided to meet leading figures in their field. AMI Scholar Lucy Wood found this especially valuable "Being an ambassador for this scholarship has given me the opportunity to meet some very influential figures in the field of Computer Science" this "has increased my awareness of the scope and opportunities a Computer Science degree can offer." 

View Lucy's submission video

For AMI Scholar Alisa Hussain, meeting the namesake of the Scholarship, Anne-Marie Imafidon, was particularly inspirational. "She is one of the only women in technology I have met so it was incredibly interesting hearing her insight into the field and of the work she does. Most impressive was realising that she is in fact a down-to-earth, sociable and, if you ask me, pretty cool woman!"

View Alisa's submission video

Inspiring others

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, MBE, is an influential figure in STEM and the Co-Founder of Stemettes, an award winning social enterprise which has reached 40,000 young women and girls through its mission to inspire and support young women into STEM careers. After receiving her Master's Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford at age 20, Anne-Marie has enjoyed an enviable career at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, and Deutsche Bank before moving on to establish Stemettes in 2013. Having recognised the alarming shortage of women in industry, Anne-Marie has spent her time since championing diversity and the democratisation of technology, bringing her wealth of expertise in this area to Durham's Computer Science Advisory Board in 2016. Since joining the Board, Anne-Marie has been influential in the development of the new Department across numerous areas, describing how she has enjoyed "helping the team at Durham to explore ways to embed an inclusive culture as they build the Department from the ground up." The AMI Women in Tech programme will, in her words, "mark the University's commitment to championing women in STEM," and she remains closely involved with the Scholars and the programme as it is developed and refined.

Find out more about the Stemettes here

AMI Scholars

Plans for the Future

These important Scholarships have been made possible by the generous support of donors with a passion to change the future of technology, ensuring that the next generation of innovation will be driven by tech leaders from all walks of life to bring the myriad benefits of a diverse workforce into the frontline of industry.

Through the help of our donor and supporter community we are delighted to have been able to endow several Scholarships in perpetuity, and will now look to grow and refine the scheme to include further mentoring, leadership, and development opportunities for our Scholars as they become STEM ambassadors and future leaders in their field.

On behalf of the University and our current and future AMI Scholars, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to the donors who have made the establishment and endowment of this important programme possible.

Ian Ellison-Taylor; Distinguished Engineer @ Microsoft
Computing, Grey College, 1990

Dr Neil Hunt; Chief Strategy Officer @ Curai
Former Chief Product Officer at Netflix
Computing and Electronics, Collingwood College, 1983

Matthew Tebbs; Engineer @ Coda
Computing, St Chad's College, 1991

Nigel Ellis; Head of Engineering @ Coda
Computing, University College, 1991

Ian Buchanan; Non-Executive Director and Advisor
Former Group Chief Information Officer for Barclays plc
Physics, Grey College, 1985

We, and the AMI Scholars, would like to say a sincere thank you to the donors who make this possible.

Impact - AMI Alisa Hussein
"The Scholarship...has inspired me to give back. I want to be able to inspire another generation of women to take on Computer Science, just as I have been."

Alisa Hussain, AMI Women in Technology Scholar

Impact - AMI Lucy Wood
"I would like to take this opportunity to give my gratitude to the donors for supporting the AMI Women in Technology Scholarship. As one of this year's fortunate recipients, I feel as though I have greatly benefitted."

Lucy Wood, AMI Women in Technology Scholar

Impact - AMI Panagiota Konstantinou
"Being a scholar gave me the opportunity to meet with people who are not only leaders but innovators in their fields and this is something that has helped me stay focused throughout the year and motivated me to work hard and not be afraid to aim high."

Panagiota Konstantinou, AMI Women in Technology Scholar

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