LGBTQ+ in STEM from UoM

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Hi, I’m Dr Maddison Coke. I live with my wife Stacey & dog Mai and currently work at the University of Manchester as an experimental officer in charge of a large range of plasma and characterisation tools.

I have been asked recently about how I “promote” equality and diversity in the workplace, and I can think of no better way than being open about who I am to all those around me. I am a female. I am dyslexic. I am BAME. I am bisexual. I am scientist. I am me. No one thing defines me, because being able to be who I am in its entirety allows me to be the best me I can be and flourish. My current workplace has really allowed me to be my whole self and become more than I thought I could be.

It seems I can’t get enough of university life having now been at one in some respect for well over a decade. I started university life doing an MSci in Chemistry at Imperial and went on to complete a PHD in EEE at UCL. I have always appreciated how universities actively encourage people to be their authentic selves. People have always been at the core of what universities stand for and I think this has allowed me to be open about my bisexually to my colleagues and friends.

I have been part of a team that looks after the cleanroom at the National Institute of Graphene for over 4 years. The research I assist with ranges from novel techniques for graphene flake identification to new plasma generation for etching 2D materials. I spend much of my time in the lab working with post-doctoral researchers to use plasma in new ways that compliments the use of 2D materials and their integration into devices.

I love working on new problems that come to me from the variety of different researchers we have coming through our lab, but I love the team I work with more. They have not only been my colleagues but my friends, so much so they even attended my marriage to Stacey last year. Being part of a university has also allowed me to do multiple outreach and volunteering events over the years. From STEM related science fair show around the UK demonstrating how my research works to helping organize multiple LGBTQ+ events including Manchester Pride.

Maddison Coke

Experimental Officer, University of Manchester

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