As we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science we're spotlighting Rucha, an ambassador at The Girls' Network and neuroscience student at the University of Manchester.

Rucha, whose family originates from India and relocated to the UK seven years ago, wants to prove that young women and girls are suited to a career in science.

An ambitious 24-year-old, she says when she first came to the UK at the age of 17, she was shy and unsure about her future, but now she is paving the way for young women in science as she follows her dream in pursuit of a career in science.

When I first came to the UK, I enrolled in my local college and started studying for my A-levels, it was there that I was offered the chance to join The Girls’ Network. It was through this network that I realised my true passion for neuroscience and the array of career opportunities available to me.

My mentor helped me to realised that there was nothing holding me back from pursuing a career in science. She encouraged me to take a gap year to explore all my options, undertake some work experience, hone my skills and gain a wider perspective on life and culture in the UK. It was such a brilliant suggestion, and I am so glad I took that time to myself.

“Having a mentor was a fantastic experience for me and looking back I can really see the difference it made to my life.  I think it’s so important to show young women all the career options available to them, and that we can overcome any social inequalities, prejudice or discrimination as long as we work hard and are determined enough.”

With women only making up around 35% of STEM students in higher education, International Day of Women and Girls in Science aims to highlight the variety and range of career opportunities available in the STEM sector.

“Women are so under-represented in the STEM sector so it is important to show girls that science can be fun, interesting, varied and really fulfilling.

“If you like knowing how things work, a career in science could be for you. Although having role models, like I had with my mentor really helped me to decide what to study, where to study and how to go about applying. She helped me with my confidence and grow as a person, which helped me to prepare for my university journey. I think more young women would benefit from having a mentor at such a crucial time in their lives.”

On completion of her master’s degree, Rucha is now considering whether to embark on a Phd in Pharmaceuticals or take on a role at a pharmaceutical company.

Find out more about our Ambasasdor Community here. Inspired by Rucha's story? You can become a mentor, take a look here.