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Me & My Shadow: scientific discovery

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Me & My Shadow: scientific discovery

Two budding scientists with epilepsy spent an "inspiring" and "enriching" day exploring laboratories as part of our Me & My Shadow scheme.

Christina Patsourakou from London and Laura Welch from Surrey were the latest participants in our work placement programme, which encourages women with epilepsy to aim high in their careers. 

For Christina and Laura, the placement - at leading pharmaceutical company, UCB - was a day of scientific discovery.

The two spent a full day touring the UCB labs at their headquarters in Slough and met women scientists from a wide-range of disciplines. 

Christina and Laura
Christina and Laura (centre) with UCB scientists

Christina told us: "visiting UCB and shadowing scientists was an incredible experience for me. I enjoyed exploring various labs and gaining insights into the daily work of scientists." 

And Christina was especially pleased to meet women who had achieved so much in their scientific careers. 

She said: "meeting women in the pharmaceutical industry was inspiring. The scientists were not only knowledgeable but also willing to answer our questions, making the experience even more enriching."

While both Christina and Laura are passionate about scientific research, they have found it difficult to get jobs in the industry. Sadly, many women with epilepsy struggle to find secure and fulfilling employment, often due to misconceptions and lack of awareness about epilepsy from employers.

The Me & My Shadow scheme aims to tackle this stigma in two ways: firstly to provide young women with the opportunity to get invaluable career experience, and secondly to help employers learn more about epilepsy.

Dr Becki Munro, a principal scientist at UCB said, "it was lovely to meet Laura and Christina and I felt I learned a lot about their condition and the challenges facing them when finding employment”.

And this message was reiterated by senior scientist Dr Anne Foley, who told us, "My colleagues and I involved in the day have all agreed what a valuable day it was for us too. Very rarely do we get first hand contact with patients, and both women were an inspiration to us. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to hear about the challenges they face day to day."

"Hopefully we’ve given some inspiration to Laura and Christina to continue looking for a career in science in the future", she added. 

Christina and Laura 2

UCB are a global pharmaceutical company who produce a wide range of drugs, including anti-seizure medication brivaracetum and levetiracetam. 

Christina and Laura's day at UCB was the latest placement in our Me & My Shadow scheme. Other recent placements have included days with MPs Caroline Nokes and Jess Phillips, patient safety commissioner Dr Henrietta Hughes, X (formerly Twitter), and ITV Meridian.  


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