Aiesha is another NGHS success story whose study of STEM subjects has led to a career taking her around the world.
Procurement Systems Supervisor, KBR Inc.
Aiesha left NGHS in 2002 and went on to study Maths and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge at which she also stayed on to complete her MPhil. She had a very positive experience at school and thrived in an environment of choice and opportunities. It was wonderful to welcome Aiesha back in 2012 for one of our alumnae reunion events too.
In 2002, I matriculated at the University of Cambridge to study mathematics. After my second year, I switched to astrophysics and graduated in 2005. To be honest, I chose to study mathematics (and later astrophysics) because it seemed fun and I didn’t really consider what I was going to do when I graduated! I took a gap year and during that time decided a career in engineering or manufacturing would be a good use of my skills. I went back to Cambridge, this time to complete the Advanced Course in Design, Manufacture and Management (ACDMM now ISMM – Industrial Systems and Manufacturing Management) Masters programme. After graduating in 2007, I joined KBR UK Ltd on a Procurement Graduate Scheme and since then have worked in a variety of procurement roles, including Purchasing, Subcontracts, Materials Management and Supplier Relations, and have been in Procurement Systems for over five years. During this time, my career with KBR has taken me to multiple locations, from Leatherhead, UK to Houston, TX, USA via Dubai, UAE and Ulsan, South Korea. I have also worked on a variety of projects with diverse groups of people, and each new opportunity has allowed me to learn more about myself and the world we live in. I am passionate about inclusion and diversity and am currently on the board of directors of the Houston chapter of KBR’s women’s Employee and Business Resource Group, dedicated to increasing female leadership in the company, as well as improving overall diversity, for the benefit of all. Additionally, I co-chair the KBR Charity Golf Committee, a group of young professionals that organize our annual golf tournament. We’re in our 13th year and to date we have raised over $6 million for more than 50 local and national charities.
My advice to young girls today is to challenge yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone. Travel and try new experiences. There will be times when people tell you that you can’t do something or that you don’t belong because of your age, your gender, your race, your lack of experience, or any number of other reasons. Sometimes that person could be you! Stamp down on those naysayers and seize the opportunities life presents. I also share one of my favourite quotes by Shirley Chisholm, politician, educator, author and the first black woman elected to the United States Congress: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair!” This applies wherever people feel excluded, not just in politics or the workplace. The next step is to make yourself heard. Don’t let others talk over you and don’t let them rephrase your ideas to sell them as theirs. Own your ideas and own your identity. As a student of NGHS, there’s no doubt that you have the potential to be a leader of the future, in whichever field you choose.
From the moment I stepped into the building at the NGHS open day, I knew that this was the school for me. As I toured the departments, each filled me with wonder at all the fun, creative and educational applications of their topics. Learning new things felt like opening a world of opportunities, a world I had never considered before. Before NGHS, I had never really thought about going to university after sixth form; my parents had gone, but as mature students, so I thought I’d probably be the same. My time at this school inspired in me a desire for learning and discovering. Here I could be passionate about art and about science, without them being mutually exclusive. Here I could ask questions that were off syllabus and my teachers would give me pointers on where to find out more and make up my own mind. Here I made memories and lifelong friendships I cherish to this day.
My time at this school inspired in me a desire for learning and discovering. Here I could be passionate about art and about science, without them being mutually exclusive. Here I could ask questions that were off syllabus and my teachers would give me pointers on where to find out more and make up my own mind. Here I made memories and lifelong friendships I cherish to this day.Aiesha Maxwell