SEE ME BE ME: Dr Abigail Otchere on Sisterhood in STEM!

SEE ME BE ME: Dr Abigail Otchere on Sisterhood in STEM

Dr Abigail Otchere is a medical writer and co-founder of SiSTEM alongside her sister Donna. SiSTEM is a network for women in science to connect with one another and celebrate each other, as well as providing information and inspiration.

SEE ME BE ME is a podcast that spotlights diverse talent across any and all career paths.

We started it off first through our own struggles. Donna went to an all girls school, and she decided to do engineering, and she didn’t get much support. She just felt like she was the only one doing it. And especially when she got to university, being the only girl on your course, or one of maybe two – it really affects your confidence.

And that can even make you doubt your abilities. I felt the higher I went, the less people I saw that looked like me. And at the beginning, I didn’t see anything wrong with that until I started doing my PHD, then I realised, wait, there’s no other president who looks like me, or sounds like me, and that affected my abilities and made me feel like I didn’t belong.

We would call each other, and encourage each other, and that bond is really what got us through our degrees. So when we finished, we realised we had something there. And other girls need to have it as well. The whole system of support, having someone that actually knows, has been there before, can really help you.

So we decided to form SiSTEM, and form that kind of community. It was formed to connect women with other women in the field, so that they had those role models, and so that they can have that help. Because if somebody just told me very early on in my career, oh you could be a medical writer, if I’d known that option was there, I probably wouldn’t have gone such a long route to find it.

That’s what SiSTEM does, connects these women in the field with each other. And we want to be that form of inspiration too. When I was in school, I didn’t see many people who were scientists, and I don’t even remember the first time I saw a black scientist. And now, if I go into a school, and someone sees me, they might think ‘oh, she looks like me. She’s like me’. We’re showing girls and women that they can do it.

To hear more about Abigail’s career, challenges, and work, check out her full episode of SEE ME BE ME below.

Discover more about SiSTEM here.