11 February, 2024

Inspiring the brightest young minds

Women In Science - Women In Science
International Women In Science Day

Women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities. We are fortunate to have an incredible array of aspirational female scientists and technicians who inspire the brilliant young minds of tomorrow here at OIC. To celebrate International Women and Girls in Science day, enjoy this snapshot of some of our brilliant Women In Science! 


We asked one of our very own Women In Science, Biology Lead, Su McRae to share with us few insights to celebrate this important day.



It's not magic, it's Biology...
Su McRae
Lead Biology, Oxford International College

Where did your love of science come from?

Biology was my favourite at School, I love the day to day applications to everyday life, such as how your own body works. The basics are so useful to everyone! Plus, using plant biology in my garden to help it thrive!

Tell me about a female in science that you admire and why?

To answer your question I went looking for someone who wasn't the most well known.  Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, Botanist and Commandant of the Women's Royal Air Force -this lady rang many bells with me, having also spent 12 years in the Army before coming into teaching!

During WWI Gwynne-Vaughan headed the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in France, but she spent most of her career as a university academic renowned for her study of fungi genetics. She was almost 21, when she eventually persuaded her family to let her enter King’s College, London. Banned from studying the unladylike subject of zoology, she graduated in botany and soon secured a post at the all-women Royal Holloway College just outside London.  Moving next to Nottingham University and finally to London’s Birkbeck College, 

In 1919, after a brief spell running the Women’s Royal Air Force, Gwynne-Vaughan resumed her pre-War job as Head of Department at Birkbeck, an evening college that then included many former servicemen among its undergraduates.

Where did your career in science begin?

A degree in pathobiology (human diseases), then a spell in the army before back to biology to open young minds to the amazing way we function...

"it's not magic, it's biology"

When did you join OIC?

Four years ago, teaching the bright and inquisitive students here at Oxford International College is great fun and a challenge for me too...stimulating all round!

What do you enjoy outside of College?

Singing with the military wives choir, spending time with my family and I have just being appointed as a JP!

What advice would you give to aspiring young women in science?

"Keep digging the answer is there - and no-one is better than you to find it!"