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Top tips for women thinking about applying for the British Council Scholarship for Women in STEM

Guest posts

Faculty: Science and Engineering
School: Engineering and the Built Environment
Course: MSc Engineering Management
Category: Engineering

16 January 2023

Engineering Management MSc student Zyanya blogs about her experience of applying for the British Council for Women in STEM Scholarship to fund her studies, and shares her advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

– What if I apply and they select me?
– I'm going to be very proud of you.
– And, if not?
– I'm going to be just as proud because you tried and didn't give up before you even started.

That's a conversation my mum and I had about a year ago when I was thinking about applying for the British Council Women in STEM Scholarship. And well, now I am studying for my Masters in Engineering Management at the Chelmsford campus of ARU.

Photo of the in-flight information screen in the back of an aeroplane seat, showing a plane travelling on a map from Mexico to London Heathrow

My name is Zyanya, I am Mexican and a proud British Council Women in STEM Scholar. My path to get here was definitely not linear, it was full of twists and turns. But those are the best because they allow you to experience completely new situations and feelings.

Speaking a little more about my background, I am a nanotechnology engineer. I probably know what you’re thinking - nanotechnology is a science that is responsible for studying matter on a very, very, very small scale to then use certain techniques and be able to change the properties of matter, thus creating new nanomaterials. It is an incredible science and I personally believe that the future will be based on it, what a thrill!

Probably the next question will be: why are you doing a Masters degree in Engineering Management now? Well, during university I realised that I not only liked being in the laboratory but also enjoyed managing scientific projects, being part of teams with the same purpose, and being their guide or leader.

And so, I realised that there are thousands of combinations of things you can be, not just one. And I decided to be a woman in science with a focus on project management.

View of an aeroplane wing, sky, clouds and the ground from an aeroplane window

I always knew that I wanted to experience living outside my country for a while. Get to know new cultures, people, and ways of studying and working. And what better way to do it than by studying for a Masters degree?

So after “we got back to normal” and COVID restrictions became a memory, I decided it was time to start looking for how to make my dream come true.

After several months of reading and researching, I found the website of the British Council and the options they had for scholarships for Mexican women in the UK.

It was there that I discovered what I had been looking for so much: a Masters degree that would allow me to combine my scientific knowledge and learn management. And at that moment I decided to apply for the scholarship and ARU. And well, now I write this from the quiet, giant and beautiful campus library.

As I mentioned, applying for the Women in STEM Scholarship – or any scholarship - is not super easy. And not because the procedures are complicated, but because you have to be passionate, persistent, and strong-minded. Before, during and after the application. And since it's not easy, I'm going to give you three tips that helped me a lot on my journey.

Eight smiling students around a restaurant table in a tunnel decorated for Christmas

1. Identify your passion.
Knowing what motivates you, and why you want to do it is one of the best tools you can have. Having a passion for a specific subject or discipline will help you narrow down and focus on what you want to do and are good at.

For example, it will help you find the ideal scholarship and Masters degree for you. In addition, you will have a topic to talk about in your motivation letters or the interview stage.

2. Organisation is your best friend.
When applying, there are many documents that you need to complete. I recommend making a checklist from the beginning. This will help you to know what stage of the process you are in and what you need to do at that moment.

For example, you need to write your motivation letter if you are in the initial stage or if you need your visa documents in the final stage.

Two smiling students holding pumpkins they have carved with smiling faces

3. Do not leave anything for the last day.
Time is super valuable. Remember that you must apply to the university, to the scholarship and then to the visa. Each of these processes has its times and requirements. Always try to be ahead.

And finally, an extra tip… go for it!

Apply for the scholarship, trust yourself and the process. As my mum said, don't give up before you've started. And remember, we are women in STEM and that means being smart, resilient and brave.

Hope to see you soon at ARU!

By Zyanya Silva-Muris
MSc Engineering Management student

British Council logo

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year it reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, and through broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, it is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. It receives a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK Government.


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