SSMA Blog: Science and Technology Award Winner Jordan Pearson Shares Her Story

Jordan Pearson studied Business & Management at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has work experience at IBM and has provided match analysis at Wimbledon. She has delivered technology workshops to primary school children in Bradford, and acts as a mentor for other young women in STEM. She won the Science and Technology Award at the Student Social Mobility Awards 2018.

To coincide with the launch of upReach’s Technology Springboard, which is supported by FactSet, Jordan has written a blog for us about her journey to success and her experiences in the technology sector.

 

Tell us a bit about your journey to winning an award at the Student Social Mobility Awards.

I grew up on one of Europe’s largest council estates surrounded by poverty and crime. Nobody in my family had completed GCSEs and I didn’t know anyone who had been to university. I wanted to change mine and my family’s lives and decided at 11 years old I wanted to go to university. I got my first job at 13 years old doing a paper round and have worked ever since, supporting myself through university.

When I got my GCSE results back with A* in Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology I realised I actually had a great chance of going to university and continued to push myself further towards my goal. Fast forward a few years and I recently graduated with a first-class honours degree in Business Management, which I am incredibly proud of.

During my degree I secured a placement year at IBM which helped me massively prepare for graduate life and working in a corporate environment. One highlight of my placement year includes being one of a select few chosen to work at the Wimbledon Championships providing match analysis for players.

I am extremely keen to give back to the community I grew up in, so I took the initiative and single-handedly prepared and delivered technology workshops to 120 students at the primary school I attended in Bradford, and from this the school implemented a lunchtime coding club. I aim to do more work like this and make a difference to young people’s lives.

I have volunteered in schools in Uganda, achieved a first-class honours degree and awards along the way; I have become a STEM ambassador and now work at the largest technology company in the world. I want to continue to inspire others from a similar background to aim high, never give up, and also encourage young females like myself to pursue a career in STEM.

How does it feel to be recognised at the Student Social Mobility Awards?

It feels fantastic to be recognised by upReach, I really wasn’t expecting it! I am proud of my background and where I am from as it has made me who I am today, and it is great to be recognised for my hard work so far.

How has winning an award affected you?

I am always very critical of myself as I set myself high standards. This award has helped me believe I am doing a good job and that I should be proud of my achievements to date. It is great to be recognised as a positive role model for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and the award has given me more confidence to go out and tell my story to other young people growing up in a similar situation to myself, and encourage them to aim high as anyone can do it.

What does social mobility mean to you?

I am a huge advocate for social mobility and believe it’s extremely important to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to break the cycle they are in, whether that is by undertaking an apprenticeship or a degree or aiming for a good career. Part of the battle with social mobility is helping more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to believe in themselves and show them that they can achieve great things.

What advice would you give to students just starting out at university?

I would say it’s really important to do things outside of your degree. I worked throughout my degree and did a placement year which gave me loads of new skills and experiences to write about in graduate applications. If you can’t do a placement year or work throughout I would suggest becoming a member of a society or undertaking some volunteer work – speak to your career advisors at university and see what other opportunities they may have for you.

Any final thoughts?

Since I was a child my mum has always told me: “Always be a shepherd not a sheep. Don’t follow the crowd, lead it”, and this is something I have always lived by. It can be tough at times but work hard, be resilient and believe in yourself and you can achieve great things. I am a young woman who grew up on a council estate in Bradford, who is now working for the world’s largest technology company. If I can do it anyone can do it!

upReach are very excited to announce the launch of our new Technology Springboard, supported by FactSet. If you’re a first-year student thinking about a career in tech, click here and choose the Technology Career Stream to apply to the programme: https://upreach.org.uk/apply-now/

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