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Episode 19: Faith in STEM: why two unlikely elements go hand-in-hand for Mandy Budwal-Jagait

For the latest Race In STEM podcast, our global community manager Steven Fuller caught up with Mandy Budwal-Jagait, a mother of two and senior good clinical practice professional based in the Midlands.

The daughter of immigrants from India, Mandy was brought up in a religious household. What kind of impact did growing up as a woman of colour and of faith have on her educational journey and her decision to pursue life sciences as a career? In Mandy’s words, “Sikhism is about fighting for your rights and equality, rising against injustice.” In that respect, her religion represents her perfectly as a person, as a professional and as an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion.

The teachings of her religion have been supplemented by a focus on education: “Education comes first, because once you have your education, no one can really take that away from you. Opportunities open. You’ll never be reliant on anyone else if you can kind of support yourself in that regard. If you’ve got a good education behind you, you have more job prospects. It wasn’t a case of, when I grow up, the expectations for me were to get married and have a family. I’m quite lucky in that regard, whereas culturally I know that has been an expectation for others. For me, it was very much, you take the opportunities that are available and you run with it.”

Listen to the complete conversation to hear more about the part Mandy’s faith has played in her career, her journey to head of GCP at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and how we can achieve better representation within the STEM space.