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Smashing Stereotypes for British Science Week 2023

March 2023

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The annual Smashing Stereotypes campaign is run by the British Science Association (BSA) during British Science Week, encouraging STEM employees and researchers to share stories about their day-to-day work. The BSA wants to showcase the diversity of the STEM workforce, the broad range of jobs and careers available, and that science can be for anyone. 

With short films, interviews, and behind-the-scenes photography, the Smashing Stereotypes campaign profiled 5 MSD employees working across MRL, human and animal health, showcasing how they are smashing stereotypes in their roles as they work to save and improve lives. 

By identifying and showcasing diverse role models, we can play our part in helping to break down misconceptions and barriers about who can be a scientist, and what they do 

 Check out our MSD colleagues’ profiles below to find out how they are Smashing Stereotypes!   

Viola Ntim

After studying pharmacy at the University of East Anglia, Viola completed her Masters degree in International Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

At MSD she works as a health technology assessment and outcomes research (HTA&OR) manager, helping to decide whether new medicines are cost-effective through developing and designing models.

‘There’s a stereotype about careers in science or health that you have to work in a lab or hospital. In fact, there are plenty of office-based jobs in the medical field in which you can still have a huge impact on patients. As a Black woman, I am also an example that ethnic minorities can work in science.’

Read Viola’s full profile

Maya Hanspal

After a degree in medical neuroscience from the University of Sussex and a PhD in Chemistry at Cambridge, Maya joined MSD as a cell biologist.

Maya is based in the company’s London Bioscience Innovation centre in Kings Cross, investigating neurodegenerative diseases of ageing.

‘People often think that scientists must be incredibly analytical and mathematically minded. These skills are important, but I think creativity and thinking outside of the box are just as valuable. Science is all about problem-solving after all!

Read Maya’s full profile

Thomas Loseby-Taylor

Tom started working with animals at just 13. His first job was as a kennel assistant at a local veterinary hospital – a role he continued throughout school. At university, he studied Animal Welfare and Veterinary Science before becoming a veterinary nurse.

He is now Senior Pharmacovigilance Officer where he is also Rainbow Alliance Lead for Animal Health.

The stereotypical view of science, I think, is that it’s boring and predictable. My experience is the complete opposite: Yes, the fundamentals of science are chemistry, physics, and biology, but what’s possible is almost limitless.’

Read Thomas’ full profile

Jessica Jackson

Jessica grew up swimming competitively and competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia as part of Team England.

She studied Biomedical Science at Plymouth University and during her time there was accepted as a Medical Affairs Associate at MSD as a student industry placement.

Jessica now works at MSD in the Medical Innovation team in Medical Affairs.

During my degree, I did a student industry placement at MSD. Initially, I felt like an imposter, but thanks to the support and mentorship I got at MSD, I returned to university with renewed purpose, completed my degree, and then went on to study for a part time Master’s degree at the University of Oxford – something I never thought would be possible for me.

Read Jessica’s full profile

Kuldip Sembhi

Kuldip started her working life as a junior lab technician in the NHS before becoming a clinical research technician. After starting a family, she switched careers in her thirties, taking a job in project management at MSD

She is now National Strategic Partnerships Programme Manager, heading up the company’s effort to eliminate Hepatitis C in England.

As a daughter of first-generation immigrants from India that came to the UK in the 1960s, I had been guided by my parents to follow a career in teaching so that it would be easier for me to take time off in the holidays when I had children. But following my father’s death, I started reading about cancer and the science behind how cells multiplied. It fascinated and inspired me.

Read Kuldip’s full profile

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To learn more about the Smashing Stereotypes campaign, visit British Science Week’s website

GB-NON-07260 | Date of Preparation: March 2023