Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, has presented BT researcher Jia-Yan Gu with a WISE Excellence Award for being an inspiration to girls.
The WISE Awards – backed by an organisation that works to promote female talent in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) - celebrate the achievements by women who have taken steps to attract and develop females in STEM subjects.
Jia-Yan, aged 26, arrived in the UK from China speaking no English. Her school discouraged her from doing A Level biology so she taught herself and achieved six Grade A’s. She now works as a researcher in semantic technology for BT Innovate & Design.
Trudy Norris-Grey, chair of WISE, said: “Jia-Yan’s passion for getting more people excited about working in technology is to be commended. In addition, she is an incredible role model to other girls proving it is possible to do something meaningful with your life, whatever your background and circumstances.”
Jia-Yan said she chose a career in engineering to make a difference to people’s quality of life.
“It was the real industry applications and research in emerging technologies that has been really exciting and also my motivation for sharing the brilliant career opportunities that are available to young women who are considering STEM subjects,” said Jia-Yan.
Earlier this year the inspirational work of Jia-Yan was recognised at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards where she was commended for “leading collaborative scientific research projects across the world, and her charity work supporting female victims of sexual abuse.”
Tim Whitley, managing director of BT’s research and development campus at Adastral Park in Suffolk, said: “This latest award for Jia-Yan is richly deserved. She is an excellent role model and a beacon for everyone who want to use STEM subjects to carve out an exciting and rewarding career.”
BT also had three other people - Vidhyalakshmi Karthikeyan, senior researcher, Pam Popay, education engagement & strategy, and Memona Mohammad, higher apprentice – shortlisted for the awards making it the most recognised company across all the categories.