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I was thrilled when I received the invitation to apply for the RisingWISE 2018 programme. I had been employed at Jaguar Land Rover for a year, and coming from abroad, I had been working hard to build up my support network in the UK. To spend three weekends on networking, mentoring and personal development, together with like-minded peers, and set against the backdrop of two gorgeous British universities - it sounded like a dream! 

I was lucky enough to be selected for the 2018 cohort, and it has been an amazing journey ever since. Initially, we joined each other for three weekends that were filled with tours of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oxford and Cambridge, inspiring talks from successful entrepreneurs, as well as activities in which we practiced our newly developed skills, and more importantly, got to know each other. I found it enriching to learn about all the varied career paths that other participants in my cohort had taken. The programme didn’t end after the in-person weekends, as we continued to meet on a regular basis through reunions and virtual activities. 

After a long process of orientation and consideration, I recently made the decision to return to academia in order to pursue a PhD. My experiences at RisingWISE definitely helped me make this decision, as I had the opportunity to talk to so many peers in both academia and industry. The RisingWISE organisers created an environment where participants were very supportive and encouraging of each others’ successes, and willing to share their own experiences. In summary, I would say that RisingWISE has broadened my horizons, introduced me to amazing people, and increased my confidence to work towards my dreams. 

With these words, I want to thank the RisingWISE organisers, and encourage everyone to apply to RisingWISE if you have the chance!

Alexandra Bremers

PhD student, Cornell Tech