Amani El-Kholy
I studied at Imperial College in the early 90s where I obtained my Master’s and PhD degrees at the Centre for Biotechnology. My PhD thesis was on DNA biosensors. I then did a post-doc at the Ludwig institute for cancer research (part of University College, London). I moved back to Imperial College in 2005 where I have held several student facing roles and I am currently the PhD Program Manager at the Department of Computer Science, Imperial College, London. I also taught at Birkbeck college for a short while in their continuing education centre.
Tell us about your career path.
Why did you choose a STEM profession?
Was your interest in STEM encouraged?

When choosing my subjects in secondary school I was drawn to the sciences. This was encouraged to a certain extent but the class size was very small and with very few girls. The choice for UG degrees at the time was quite limited and I really wanted to go to Medical School. I was dissuaded mainly by school teachers and my family on the basis that it is hard work and “why don’t you study something less demanding”. So I joined what was then the faculty of science and I studied biochemistry instead. I think with the right support and the deviation from the stereotype of “girls are not up to hard work” I would have made a great doctor.

If at first you don’t succeed try try again.”

How was your educational/university experience? Do you have any memorable experiences to share?

I had a great time at university. I particularly enjoyed the lab work and the several summer internships I had. My favourite and most memorable experience is the graduation ceremony at the Albert Hall where my father graduated 40 years previously. It was surreal to be on the same stage he had walked on all those years ago.

Where do you work?
What would you do during a typical day at work? What do you enjoy most about your job?

At the moment I work at Imperial College. My work involves teaching and training as well as recruitment and interviewing. I am a people person and this is why I love my job now as I have moved from working in a Lab to dealing with people.
Dealing with my wonderful students.

What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

Possibly set up a coaching and mentoring scheme for Postgraduate students

What do you like to do outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?

I volunteer in our local hospital. I love reading and have recently started getting involved in keep fit classes, yoga and mindfulness. Travelling and learning about new places and meeting new people is also something I love so look forward to doing more of that once we are allowed

What advice would you give to other young girls and women who plan to pursue a STEM career?

Never be too scared to change and adapt. Nothing you do is wasted. Take risks, try new things, be brave, dream big, and most importantly be loud and get heard.