Dr Jan Peters MBE is a champion for diversity in science and engineering and campaigns to achieve inclusion in education and industry. In 2017, she was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievements and has a PhD in electronic materials.
Jan is a former president of the Women’s Engineering Society and is the founder of Katalytic, a consultancy dedicated to working with educators and science and engineering employers to achieve greater diversity through inclusion. Bournemouth University is delighted to award Jan an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering.
Jan said: “I’m really excited to be here today, I’m in awe of the whole occasion. I’m delighted and honoured to have been picked out and chosen to be here.”
Jan has been involved with different parts of BU, particularly connecting the university with local schools.
“Over the last few years, I’ve done some work with the media school working on a coding challenge for local schools and I’ve helped to connect academics from science engineering to schools to do outreach work. I’ve run a local science fair in Christchurch where BU academics came and helped me show children in Saxon Square all the sorts of things you can see in water through microscopes.”
Jan has been involved in a huge number of outreach programmes and has realised that more needs to be done to create a diverse, inclusive culture.
“I’ve always believed in people being able to do what they want, and to be able to have the opportunity but also to be able to achieve once they choose what they want to do. I feel really passionate about that; I always say I’ve been born with an extra fairness gene.”
“You have to work to create an inclusive culture within engineering departments but also teach scientists and engineers about being inclusive of the people that they work with, to listen to each and every person in their team, but also when people are designing things, to think about the global population.”
Jan is passionate about what she does and has been successful in pursuing her beliefs, so she has some wise words for any graduates that may want to venture down her career path.
“I think the advice that I would give to anybody, is that you’re the person in the driving seat for your career and it’s up to you what it is you end up doing. It’s up to you to look up from your smartphone, and it’s up to you to observe to opportunities and seize them.
“Make sure you make the most of those opportunities and as you go through every stage of your life, look inside and find out and understand what makes you tick. Keep a mental note of the moments where you feel amazing, keep a little book of those in your head, and try to recreate those situations, so that you’re applying your natural talents to what it is you want to do.”