Hi My name is Bamidele Farinre and I am a HCPC registered Specialist Biomedical Scientist in the Virology discipline. I work in the lab as part of a team to diagnose viral infections/diseases (disease caused by viruses) in children using state of the art technology and techniques. I help the doctors and medical team by providing tests results that will help them to determine the correct treatment to give to patients. I am involved in various STEM outreach work as a STEM/WISE ambassador; I assess STEM projects for British Science Association, a mentor, continuous professional development officer and first aider.
Name: Bamidele Farinre FIBMS, FTSUA
Alma Mater: University of Broghton
STEM Career Path: HND Applied Biology, Biomedical Science Degree, MSc. Clinical Microbiology
Who/What inspired you to become interested in biomedical sciences?
My fascination with science started from a young age owing to the fact that my mum was a registered nurse and my aunt was a qualified doctor in Nigeria. I have always had an inquisitive mind, I remember being taken along to graduation ceremonies by my grandmother, she was not educated but made up her mind that her grandchildren will accomplish what she couldn’t. She encouraged that I should aspire to succeed in my academics and that I can be whatever I want to be as long as I put my heart to it. I aspired to be a pharmacist but did not get the grades I required to study pharmacy at my chosen University. I went through clearing to apply to another University for a different course and I was advised to do an access course to give me a boost and prepare me for the main degree hence why I studied applied science. Whilst waiting for my clearing results I had a call from one of the universities I had applied to come and study pharmacy. I accepted but only studied for a week and realized that was not a good career option for me due to the math content, hence my career path as a Biomedical scientist.
What struggles have you faced as an African woman in STEM thus far? How did you overcome those struggles?
It will have to be the lack of mentorship. It is a known fact that mentorship is vitally important to the personal and professional development of an individual. As a woman in a STEM-related career, there are a lot of obstacles. Having the advice of a woman who has already “been there, done that” can vastly improve the ability of women rising up within their fields to stay the course and see that success is possible. Most of the mentors I have come across in my journey in STEM have been males. There is a deficit of female black mentor during my undergrad years, and even if there were some available, I wasn’t aware of them. Until 2012 when I was doing my Specialist diploma studies in Virology, I went to a lot of conferences and seminars and was opportune to meet a lot of female mentors who have inspired and mentored me till date and so I can say that networking is indispensable. I have found that having a mentor has actively addressed situations that might not be inherently easy for those new to the career, like workplace politics, negotiations (for salary or promotion), and overall life-balancing mechanisms.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with one woman in STEM who would it be and why?
It will have to be Beryl Catherine Platt, Baroness Platt of Writtle, Founding Chair and Patron of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). The reason is because I am inspired by her strength and tenacity in fighting for women in the 1990’s to have equal rights as men in the workplace. She fought for opportunities for women to have equal access to STEM education/resources. She’s a true role model to all girls who were thinking of following a career in engineering. Even at the age of 90, Baroness Platt took an active interest in the WISE campaign. I would love to hear from her live and direct and ask her how she was able to withstand oppositions and coped with not been treated the same as her male counterparts during her education/career journey.
Best Advice You Have Ever Received?
Be yourself and believe in your abilities, strive for excellence, reach for the stars and you might just reach the moon. This has been my motto so much that when difficult situations arise, I have this playing in my head like music and I just persevere regardless of the outcome. It has taught me to always get back up when I f all because my success is in rising up above difficulties
For young women of color that are interested in pursuing virology and microbiology or even a fellowship in sciences, how do they get there?
I would encourage people considering my role or area of work to keep believing in their abilities. They can achieve whatever they put their mind to do, with the right resources/information, positive attitude, and perseverance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if they sound stupid to you (you can only acquire knowledge when you seek it). Aim high and don’t allow any outdated norms navigate you off course
Main skills/attributes for this role in 3 words: Articulate, passionate, open-minded.
Thank You Bami For Being Such A Wonderful Inspiration!
Stay Connected with Bami on her Social Media:
Facebook: @bami farlek
YouTube: Bamidele Farinre