International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023
Shining a spotlight on Intertek's women in science: An interview with Joanne Hubbard, Technical Specialist Manager, UK Food Services
10 February 2023
Each year on 11th February, the United Nations observes the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The purpose of this day is to recognise the contributions women make to science, de-bunk stereotypes, and end discrimination against women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
To mark the day, we interviewed Joanne Hubbard, Technical Specialist Manager for Intertek's UK Food Services to hear her thoughts as a woman in science. Joanne joined Intertek as UK Technical Specialist Manager in 2021. Day-to-day she provides scientific and regulatory support to our UK Food market customers, helping retailers and manufacturers with safety and quality testing, label validation, and training.
Find out about the inspirational women Joanne has met in her career and the advice she'd give to young women looking to pursue a STEM career.
Joanne, can you tell us a little about your career in science?
I began my career working in a Public Analyst laboratory in Manchester where I was performing safety tests on food. I really enjoyed working in the food safety field and after a few years I decided to complete a Mastership in Chemical Analysis to qualify as a Public Analyst. Since then I've worked in a range of roles in food and healthcare, including Public Analyst, Quality Systems Manager, and Laboratory Manager before joining Intertek in 2021.
What do you enjoy most about your job as a Technical Specialist Manager?
For me, the most enjoyable part of my job is working with others to solve problems. This can vary from helping clients select the right test needed for their food product, helping them understand their test results, or advising on a regulatory issue. It's also really rewarding to know that the work I do helps protect the public by ensuring the food they buy is safe and legal. This was one of the reasons I trained as a Public Analyst over 18 years ago and it is still important to me today.
Can you tell us about any women in science, or your career, that have particularly inspired you?
It's difficult for me to pick just one woman to answer this question as I have met so many inspirational women throughout my education and career! I've always loved science and I remember my high school Chemistry teacher was a great role model; she always made our lessons fun and encouraged me to continue my studies.
When I started my first graduate job, I was lucky to work in a laboratory team that had a high proportion of female scientists. I feel this was an important first impression of working in STEM and confirmed to me how important it is to have women in these types of roles. I'm grateful to have built this initial network of friends and colleagues who inspired me at the beginning of my career. Later in my career, when I was studying to become a Public Analyst, I trained alongside other women who helped inspire me to be the best I could be!
What advice would you give to young females who want to pursue a career in science?
My main piece of advice is to get work experience in a field you might want to study and work in. By doing this you'll get the opportunity to see what the role entails, what the working environment is like, and if it's for you.
From a practical point of view, I do think it's also wise to investigate what types of roles you might be qualified for when embarking on your studies. This way you can map out your career path and what you'll need to do to get there, whether through formal education, training, or apprenticeships.
So, what are you waiting for? Get stuck in and find your passion! There are so many roles and sectors where you can apply your skills as a scientist, both inside and outside of the laboratory. I strongly believe that anyone who loves science can find a fulfilling career that inspires them, whether that's in the laboratory, business, regulation, or another field.
Find out more about working at Intertek
Are you interested in pursuing a STEM career? At Intertek, you can join our global network of inspiring and entrepreneurial colleagues who bring quality, safety, and sustainability to life. Find out more about a career with Intertek, or check out our UK vacancies.
UK Technical Specialist Manager, Food Services
Joanne joined Intertek as UK Technical Specialist Manager in 2021. Prior to this, she worked in a variety of quality and technical roles in the private and public sectors. She holds a Mastership in Chemical Analysis (MChemA).