Natures Aid Women In Science

February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Created and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, International Day of Women and Girls in Science is all about recognising the crucial role that women and girls play in science, not just as beneficiaries but as agents of change. It’s a day all about promoting full and equal access to the sciences.

2022 marks the 7th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly; this year’s theme is “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us.”

In recognition, we wanted to dedicate a little time to the amazing women working in science in our very own Natures Aid laboratory – finding out why they love what they do, and what they would say to women and girls looking to pursue careers in a scientific field.

Women in Science
Rassia Dardouri, Marta Vulturescu, Yasmin Mannan

Meet The Team

Yasmin Mannan (Yas) – Senior QA/QC Analyst

“As Senior QC Analyst, my role is to plan, prioritise, assign and review the work of our Quality Analysts, and deputise for the Quality Control Manager on QC matters when required.  I also write SOP’s, Protocols and other Quality documentations, as well as help to develop and validate analytical methods. I ensure products and materials are tested within the set time frame and coordinate the stability trials of licensed products.”

Abbigail Hatherley (Abbie) – Quality Analyst

“I am a Quality Analyst. This involves me testing all raw materials, packaging and every product that is manufactured here at Natures Aid. I also partake in all internal calibrations, validations and audits that are conducted on site.”

Marta Vulturescu – Quality Technician

“My role is in the Quality department as Quality control and analyst. I carry out lab work to develop and improve new and existing products; this can include testing raw materials, tablets, capsules and liquids from a quality and performance point of view, and reporting the results of this work.”

Abbigail Hatherley, Joanna Choroba, Rassia Dardouri, Yasmin Mannan

First Steps

There are many reasons that attract people into a role in the sciences. For Abbie, her interest was sparked from a young age, “I was really interested in learning about science at school, and it also helped that I excelled in it!”  For others, a career in the sciences offers a great opportunity to flex and develop key skills: “learning through investigation in the science laboratory helps to develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, analysis, synthesis and an understanding of the scientific method,” says Marta. 

There is a world of different careers to choose from within the broad field of Science, and for many the path into their dream role can be a winding one.  Yas’ experience is one such example; she first wanted to pursue a career in clinical pathology laboratories but was ultimately put off by the smell of the lab and the realisation that she would have to test stool samples and bodily fluids!  

After initially studying Molecular Biology at University, Yas ultimately transferred to Microbiology.  On completing her degree, she decided to take a break from education and get a couple of years of industry experience under her belt before returning to university to complete her PhD and research in Botrytis cinerea; “as it turned out, the couple of years in industry ended up being almost 20 years at Natures Aid,”and counting!

Abbie, meanwhile, studied Forensic Science at University.  Whilst studying, she quickly realised her love for being in the laboratory analysing samples.  Abbie applied for a Quality role at Natures Aid shortly after graduating and the rest, as they say, is history.

Doing What You Love

A common theme for our team, when asked about why they love working in science, is variety. “There are so many different elements of science,” says Yas, “at Natures Aid we can do anything from wet chemistry, analytical and biochemistry, to environmental microbiology testing. Science is vital for civilisation and the field is constantly evolving with constant breakthroughs and discoveries.”  Abbie agrees, remarking “Science is literally behind everything. Who would think that every item in a supermarket must go through thorough testing just so that it can be consumed by the end user.”

Our Quality Team take a huge amount of pride in knowing that their work ensures every capsule, tablet, liquid that Natures Aid supply is safe and meets the highest possible standards.

Science At Natures Aid

No two days are the same in the Natures Aid lab, and it’s this which keeps our team motivated! As Yas explains, a typical day may include a range of testing including API’s, excipients or on finished products, offering quality support and coordinating with other departments across the business. The team’s main priority is to ensure that everything is tested correctly and on time, to ensure each and every one of our products meet their specification – the wide variety of actions this involves definitely keeps them busy!

We asked the team to share their favourite thing about working at Natures Aid – “it’s got to be the people I work with and the people I have met along the way,” Abbie responds. “Working in an environment where everybody gets along definitely helps you to enjoy your job that little bit more.” Moreover, Marta calls out the excellent training and support she’s received during her time at Natures Aid. The team also highlight the brand new, modern laboratory they have to work in – which was freshly refurbished in 2021. The new lab was a hugely exciting investment for Natures Aid, designed to help the Quality team accommodate the exceptional growth our company has experienced in recent years. The new facility includes state-of-the-art fume cupboards and benches, new temperature-controlled labs to help maintain consistent results, a new analytical lab which houses our three HPLC machines, and a wet chemistry lab which offers our analysts a safe working environment in which to perform chemical analysis.

A Rewarding Career

To other women and girls thinking about a career in a science-based field, Marta tells them to look forward to a career “filled with opportunity and discovery.” She explains, “scientific learning will allow them to think critically, analyse and access a problem or situation.” Of course, any career in science will have its challenges, and Yas warns enthusiasm and willingness to learn and develop are vital, especially in the early years of your career. But it’s worth it she says, and the work can be really gratifying. Ultimately, “just go for it!” says Abbie, “there are so many different areas in the science industry, and all of them are very different!”

Explore Current Vacancies at Natures Aid here.

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