A Rugby mother made the leap from Amstrad to Apple to inspire her daughters and tackle gender stereotypes thanks to a major scholarship.
Mum-of-two Jessica Maher is one of just a handful of women on her computer science course at Coventry University which awarded her the scholarship.
Jessica Maher (pictured above).
The 31 year old hopes that with a lifetime of experience in computing and chance to learn alongside her children, she can help tackle the industry’s gender imbalance and inspire girls to follow in her footsteps.
Jessica who lives in Rugby with her partner and two daughters, said: “There are only about 10 women on my course out of around 450 students, and it is disheartening to look round and see so many men. We need to show that women are succeeding as positive role models, there is stigma and stereotyping from a young age which carries on in life.
“I already see a difference in what my daughters are learning at school to what I learnt at their age so coming back to education is an eye opener – and what’s great is that we’re learning the same things so do it together.
“I first worked with computers in the days of Amstrad which is very different to the likes of Apple and advanced technology that students around me grew up with, it really makes me stand out in a positive way.”
Jessica is among a record number of 30 students to win this year’s Coventry University Ada Lovelace scholarship, which encourages women to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.
Another recipient is 19-year-old civil engineering student Miranda Bishop-Timings, from Stretton on Dunsmore. She said: “I see it as if men can build a skyscraper, then why can’t I? And by speaking to girls about their options through school hopefully I can help spread this idea.
“It was being shown that these engineering jobs existed when I was at school that made all the difference for me.”