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Me & My Shadow: "science is vital"

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Me & My Shadow: "science is vital"

It's not every day that an 18-year-old gets to spend time with leading scientists and cutting edge researchers, but Monday 22nd May was one such day.

To mark the start of National Epilepsy Week, we were delighted to welcome Abbie Stephenson, a young woman from Milton Keynes, to the Epilepsy Society's HQ in Buckinghamshire.

Abbie was the first "shadow" to take part in our recently relaunched Me & My Shadow scheme which gives women with epilepsy the opportunity to "shadow" for a day leading figures from media, politics, charities, sport, health and business. 

Through the scheme we hope to build confidence and ambition in women with epilepsy and encourage them to think big. The current scheme is aimed at women between 18 and 35, but we do hope to expand to other ages and genders in the future.

Abbie spent the day shadowing Dr Karin Kipper, the Head of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Unit at the Epilepsy Society. She also spent time with several of our research fellows and got the opportunity to see our MRI unit - the only MRI assessment facility dedicated to epilepsy in Europe. 

Abbie Stephenson and Dr Karin Kipper

As part of the placement, Abbie gained career inspiration from Dr Kipper and her colleagues and had a tour of our world-leading research facilities. 

Abbie said: “I had a really good day visiting the Epilepsy Society and learning about the work of Karin. I enjoyed learning more about how science can help treat epilepsy and I loved seeing behind the scenes of the MRI. It gave me some great ideas about what to do in my future.”

Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) is an area of clinical chemistry that specialises in measuring medication levels in patients, usually through blood samples but also through saliva samples.

Dr Kipper, who has led the TDM unit since October 2019, said: “It was great to be able to talk to Abbie about my and my team members’ career journeys in STEM, to show her around our medical centre and to give her ideas for her own future. My colleagues and I see every day how working in science and research is incredibly rewarding and can make a real impact. My hope is that more young women can enter STEM in the future – science is vital, and it changes lives for the better.”

All in all, an inspiring day! And we hope the first of many. As the summer progresses, we will also be arranging Me & My Shadow work placements in the fields of politics, media and business. Stay tuned!


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