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Emma Kennedy

Senior Specialist, Value Stream Lead,
West Pharmaceutical Services

Mary Mulcahy

Quality Engineering Manager,
West Pharmaceutical Services

At West, a global leader in innovative solutions for injectable drug administration, 37% of global team members are female and its Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) aims to attract more women. Here, two women discuss why and how they got into their STEM careers. 

Q: How did you get into in the medical devices industry? 

A: Emma Kennedy, Senior Specialist and Value Stream Lead says: “I never imagined I’d work in this industry. At school I didn’t have a clear career in mind, but I liked science and problem solving so I researched engineering, then I completed a mechanical engineering degree. We did modules on all kinds of engineering and I chose to use my engineering skills to work in medical devices.” 

 Q: What is your favourite thing about working in medical devices?

A: Emma: “It’s rewarding because our products improve patients’ lives – including my mam’s. I also like solving problems and working with a diverse team and it’s fun!” 

Q. Did you ever think you would have a career in STEM or medical devices?

Mary Mulcahy, Quality Engineering Manager at West: “At school I didn’t know what STEM was, but I liked home economics, so I studied food science at college. I soon discovered that a science degree was a key to a broad range of careers. I have worked in technology and engineering and now help ensure the quality of components used by patients, which means my work is making a difference to people’s lives.”

I think it’s important for young women to see other women in STEM roles, as it will encourage them.

Q: Do role models help inspire girls and women into STEM careers? 

A. Mary: “Yes, I think it’s important for young women to see other women in STEM roles, as it will encourage them to consider STEM careers.” 

Q. Could more be done to encourage school-age girls into STEM?

A. Mary: “I recently returned to my old school to talk about my STEM career. We need to see that happening at all schools around the country. I think interaction between women with STEM careers and school-age girls will certainly have a positive influence. At school I thought all science careers meant laboratory work, but I soon found that STEM skills do not limit you to one kind of role and it’s important to understand that when considering career options.” 

Q. Why should more women think about a career in medical devices?

A. Mary: “Many people know very little about careers in the medical device industry and STEM in general, so women don’t hear enough about how rewarding the work can be. More businesses within the industry should be sharing information about the opportunities these careers on offer.” 

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