Celebrating Women in AgriFoRwArdS (2)

Amie Owen is a member of our 2nd Cohort of students who is currently studying her MSc and in October 2021 will be going on to study her PhD at the University of Lincoln.

We asked Amie to write about joining the CDT and her inspiration for studying STEM.

I am an MSc student on the CDT AgriFoRwArdS scheme. I believe that being open-minded and having a lot of determination have helped me to gain a place on the scheme, especially a determination to understand a particular concept or equation or mechanical device. etc I have always kept searching for the ‘thing’ that really interests me and gives me energy and I believe that I’ve now found it! I think it’s also important not to give up too easily or beat yourself up when things go wrong, or you don’t understand something instantly as often it’s just part of the process of learning and stretching your capabilities.

I am motivated by a desire to understand how things work and the links between different technologies and ideas. I am also motivated by a desire to understand areas of agriculture where robotics and automation can make a real difference and I hope to be able to develop a technology that can be tested in the real world. It’s a real challenge to develop a technology that works, is safe and is something that makes a real improvement, however technology has the potential to transform our lives, to reduce inequality, to reduce damage to the environment as well as to tackle climate change.

I was motivated to choose a STEM subject and the AgriFoRwArdS CDT scheme as I am particularly interested in machine/deep learning and the idea that there is a more efficient way of doing a lot of the tasks that humans perform. I enjoy learning about the concepts of machine learning and understanding the links between the behaviour of machine learning and the ways in which humans learn and reason. In a previous company, I spent 2 weeks working in the factory, applying glue to a wheel arch and I wished that my role could have been taken over by a robot…!

I have worked in companies where I have been the only woman in the office/meeting/team, and it is sometimes difficult when you feel ‘different’ to find a way of being yourself. It’s always good to have female role models who have overcome these aspects of the profession and have found a way of carving out a niche for themselves. It’s also good to look to other professions for female role models.

I love the fact that computer science is developing at such a rapid pace and that there are always new things to learn. I also love the fact that so much information is open source and that there is an extremely large community of computer scientists online who share and collaborate with their code –this makes it so much easier to learn from others and to problem-solve and bug-fix your own code. I love the fact that it is possible to ‘try something out’ quickly using simulation, and that errors in code can be corrected ‘on the fly’ as there is nothing damaged by running a simulation!

The next in our week of celebrating women in AgriFoRwArdS will be by Haihui Yan, CDT Student.