Everyone at PepsiCo is passionate about inspiring young people’s interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), but, no one is more passionate than Suzanne Davies, the driving force behind our STEM agenda and co-founder of the Curiosity Club.
Suzanne is an Assistant Scientist who works within our Global Functional R&D in the Food Structure and Ingredient Science Team. Before joining PepsiCo, Suzanne studied Nutrition and Food Science at Nottingham University.
“Surprisingly, growing up I didn’t enjoy science at school, however, I was fortunate enough to have a very knowledgeable tutor who pushed me into considering a STEM at university, once I’d made that decision and experienced science related to food at degree level, I was hooked and haven’t looked back” Suzanne explains.
At PepsiCo, STEM is the driving force behind our safe, nutritious and delicious products and it empowers us to continuously improve on everything we do.
Demand for STEM-related occupations is projected to grow at double the rate of other sectors, and a lack of diversity throughout the STEM talent pipeline risks exacerbating skills shortages (NCUB, 2018), particularly for Women in STEM.
“We already dedicate a significant amount of time in engaging with universities and apprenticeships to attract STEM-based talent to PepsiCo” explains Suzanne. “But there is also a need to increase this STEM pool by focusing an element of our time inspiring students into STEM who are likely to lose interest in the early stages of education.
“By investing in this, not only PepsiCo, but the industry as a whole can ensure they have enough STEM talent in the pipeline, and the most equipped talent to continue to drive PepsiCo forward in innovation, sustainability, quality and food safety” Suzanne continues.
To help inspire the next generation, Suzanne and the team of 75 STEM ambassadors formed The Curiosity Club. The club works on a number of initiatives including; engaging with Talent 2030, Number Partner, Nuffield Placements as well as holding a set of interactive workshops which are delivered in schools educating students on food science and engineering.
“Knowing that more than 25% of colleagues on site at Beaumont Park have taken time out of their schedules to participate in The Curiosity Club activities this year is great.
“It’s so rewarding seeing the impact we’ve had this year on local young people’s interest in science. It makes me proud to work for a company who realises the responsibility they have in engaging more young people in STEM to benefit not only themselves, but the industry as a whole.
“I can’t wait to see the programme launch at our HQ in Reading and see our STEM engagement grow!” Suzanne summarises.
Watch this space for more updates on our STEM related activities – Suzanne and the team have lots of exciting plans for 2019.