Rebecca Ballantyne is a senior analytical technologist for Sellafield, a government entity based in Cumbria, England, with the aim of carrying out accelerated nuclear decommissioning and clean-up programmes. She became a chartered chemist in 2018 with the Royal Society of Chemistry.
While her career path has involved analytical chemistry, she earned a degree in forensic science at the University of Central Lancashire—a decision that opened the door to a range of STEM careers.
“I had always loved science from a very young age, but wasn’t sure which route to pursue when it came to deciding on my degree subject,” she said in a statement. “I did some research and I realised that forensics was a great broad science degree that explored many areas of science – from pathology and toxicology to ballistics and entomology and everything in between! The degree also covered criminal law and court room modules so it was a great introduction to critical analysis and problem-solving. As a standalone degree, I felt that I had a lot of options and opportunity after graduation, I wasn’t just restricted to a role working within forensic science.”
Ballantyne is passionate about expanding access to STEM fields. As part of Women in Nuclear Cumbria, she aims to attract female talent to science and technological fields by working with teachers, parents and students.
Many of the areas that I have worked in have a noticeable lack of female graduates,” she continued. “I’d like to encourage more girls to explore the sciences as possible career choices. STEM subject choices at school and university, can lead onto fast paced and challenging professions.”
As such, in 2019, she was honoured with awards for “outstanding contribution to improving equality, diversity and inclusion in STEM” and “outstanding contribution to science as a Woman of the Future.” She was also nominated for the”outstanding new STEM ambassador and most inspirational member of the Royal Society of Chemistry” award the previous year.
Ballantyne is a guest lecturer of chemistry at the University of Cumbria. She is also a member and ambassador of the Nuclear Institute and Royal Society of Society and serves as a STEM coordinator for North Cumbria for Women in Nuclear.Tags: chemistry, Diversity and Inclusion, forensics, STEM, Women in Science, Women in Tech