Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


10 Jun 2024

PhD student and Co-Founder of SiSTEM, Donna Otchere has been awarded the Rising Star award by WeAreTheCity

Headshot of Donna

PhD student and Co-Founder of SiSTEM, Donna Otchere has been awarded the Rising Star Award by WeAreTheCity.

The Rising Star Award aims to highlight the UK’s pipeline of female talent below management level and to create female role models across various industries and professions. This year, the awards attracted over 1300 entrants and were judged by a panel of more than 40 independent judges.

Donna co-founded SiSTEM UK with her sister in 2022 to address the lack of representation of women, particularly black women, in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) industries. Despite not meeting the initial entry requirements and facing discouragement from her teachers, Donna pursued her passion for engineering and studied mechanical engineering at university. She often felt isolated as one of the few women in her course, but with the support of her sisterhood, she successfully completed her degree. Donna went on to complete her master’s degree and is now pursuing a PhD in Gender Equity in STEM, one of our Vice Chancellor (VC) Research Cluster in Inclusive Engineering.

She comments:

This recognition warms my heart because I remember being a girl with a dream of becoming an engineer but having no resources. Now I am in the position to help others and change the narrative of a woman in STEM.

Throughout her journey, Donna has consistently opened doors for other young women. SiSTEM UK launched as a social media platform to increase the visibility of women in STEM. Noticing the absence of black women when searching #womeninSTEM, Donna made it her mission to change this. In addition to showcasing women in STEM, SiSTEM educates its audience on various careers within the field. This initiative has grown into a thriving community and movement.

Donna actively engages with schools, universities, festivals and any venue that offers a platform to educate people about engineering and challenge the notion that is a male-dominated field. She leads her team with a unique vision, organising events, workshops, mentoring programmes and leveraging social media to increase and retain the number of women in STEM.

A huge congratulations!