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International Day of Women in Science

February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. The Met Office is leading the way in developing a diverse workforce that is representative of society so that our work is relevant to the community and customers we serve. Part of this diversity includes gender balance and, although women are often underrepresented in science, at the Met Office women are making vital contributions to the global understanding of weather and climate. Here are just a few examples of our Women in Science.

Prof Penny Endersby, Chief Executive

Professor Penelope Endersby joined the Met Office in December 2018 from from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where she led the Cyber and Information Systems Division and was Acting Chief Technical Officer as well as a Non-Exec Director of Ploughshare Innovations, the MOD’s technology transfer organisation. 

During the course of her career, Professor Endersby has gained wide-ranging experience in areas such as high performance computing, complex modelling and simulation, space systems and weather, geospatial intelligence and analytics, while ultimately delivering life-saving science for the UK’s defence and security users. She is using this experience to lead the organisation as it manages the risks and opportunities associated with our changing weather and climate. With a strong science and technology background, she leads the organisation as it continues to embrace new technologies and developments in science to stay at the forefront of weather and climate science. 

Dr Laila Gohar, Met Office Scientist

I work in the climate science area of the Met Office and am part of the Mitigation advice team. My work involves exploring how the climate changes to different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios in particular how specific climate related indicators such as temperature, precipitation change from a mitigation viewpoint.

The women in science who have particularly inspired me are Dame Julia Slingo who had recently been the Chief Scientist here at the Met Office and Professor Joanna Haigh who is co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate change. They both are amazing in their careers; they are passionate about their work and have managed both work and family life to achieve their many successes. 

Dr Laura Burgin, Senior Scientist

I am currently a senior applied climate scientist specialising in regional climate modelling and providing climate information to build resilience in developing countries. Prior to this I worked for ten years in atmospheric dispersion, mainly providing research and support to the UK government related to airborne hazards such as volcanic ash during the Eyjafallajokull eruption, the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, the 2007 outbreak of foot-and-mouth and the ash dieback outbreak in 2012. The Met Office sponsored my PhD at Exeter University, which focussed on the impact of weather and climate change on the spread of the livestock disease, Bluetongue, into the UK.

Prior to joining the Met Office, I gained a BSc in geophysics at the University of Edinburgh and a MSc in Applied Meteorology at Reading Uni.

I have really enjoyed working on diverse projects, which have a good mix of research, developing services and working closely with users. It's great to see your work having a real impact and occasionally making headlines. The travel to unique places such as Namibia, Georgia and Fiji is also a definite plus. Read more from Laura here

Dr Rachel McInnes, Scientific Manager - Climate Information for International Development

I am a Scientific Manager at the Met Office and my job involves managing a team of scientists who carry out research on climate change impacts for countries all over the world. We work with decision makers and other scientists in these countries to help make the scientific information relevant and useful for decision-making. I thrive on working with my team to solve problems.  

I enjoy the technical side of my job, writing code and carrying out data analysis. My background is in physics and astrophysics, I moved into Climate Science 9 years ago when I joined the Met Office. I have a physics and astronomy Masters from Glasgow University @UofGPhysAstro and a PhD from Edinburgh University in astrophysics @RoyalObs, and worked for a short time for the Institute of Physics @PhysicsNews.

Felicity Liggins, Education Outreach Manager

Having grown up wanting to be a palaeontologist, an F1 engineer and a theatre set designer, Felicity decided to study the world around us, graduating with a Masters in Geology from the University of Southampton in 2004. She then joined the Environment Agency, working first in hydrometry and telemetry and then in flood risk management.

In 2008, Felicity joined the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services, working to bring bespoke interpretation and analysis of climate science to a range of customers. With particular experience in the transport, health and local government sectors, Felicity helped organisations identify the threats and opportunities climate change could bring both in the UK and around the world, providing the confidence to make appropriate adaptation decisions.

On joining the Met Office, Felicity became a STEM Ambassador to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to young people. To help this, she gained a Masters in Science Communication at the University of the West of England in 2011.

Today, Felicity leads the Met Office’s award-winning outreach programme. We want to inspire, inform and engage young people in weather and climate; highlight the real-world applications of STEM subjects and help them make informed decisions about their future. Felicity and STEM Ambassadors from across the Met Office enjoy bringing the STEM subjects to life and we deliver a wide range of creative and exciting outreach activities for young people – from our flagship Science Camps, to sand sculpture workshops to school talks and music festivals.

Olivia Gerrity, Trainee Operational Meteorologist 

1 year and 3 months after starting at the Met Office, I am nearing the end of my on-the-job training at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire. My favourite part of the job is forecasting alongside our customers and seeing first-hand how we make a difference. Here at Leeming, the Met Office has a close relationship with its customers, creating a very approachable yet professional environment. Knowing our customer, and knowing them well, makes our job much easier! Read more about Olivia's journey from childhood dream to working as a RAF forecaster here

Dr Lizzie Kendon, Manager of understanding regional climate change

Lizzie is a climate scientist working on extreme rainfall processes and their evaluation in models across space and time scales. Lizzie is a climate scientist working on extreme rainfall processes and their evaluation in models across space and time scales.

Lizzie's work aims to gain a better understanding of extreme rainfall processes, and model deficiencies in the representation of these, across space and time scales. To read more about Lizzie's work click here

Dr Rosanna Amato , Climate Information Scientist (International Development)

Rosanna graduated from the University of Exeter with a Masters in Maths, specialising in Climate Science and French. She has worked at the Met Office for 4 years as a climate information scientist, focussing on international development projects. Rosanna works on several projects across East Africa to improve both the scientific skill behind seasonal forecasts and their communication. These projects work hard to bring users and producers together to create forecast products that strike a balance between scientific accuracy and being accessible and useful for a wide range of users. These projects improve the resilience of vulnerable communities by being better prepared for damaging events such as droughts and floods.