Celebrating Lancing Women in Science

February 11 celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science; an annual observance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, this day aims to promote the full and equal access and participation of women in STEM fields. 

Lancing College nurtures the passions of each and every student, however we maintain it pertinent to highlight the achievements of our Women and Girls in Science, and spur them on to achieve the greatness we know they are all capable of. Just last year, our UVI girls went on to study science courses at esteemed universities across the UK including Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, Natural Sciences at York, Psychology and Biology at Bristol, Veterinary Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College, and Psychology at Warwick. We have a number of impressive OLs that are pioneers in their respective fields, including Marisa Amato (Sankey's 2006 - 2008), as well as an inspiring array of Science Teaching Staff that inspire our pupils every day. In this article we discuss the achievements of Lancing Women and Girls in Science and hope you will join us in celebrating them.

Lancing Girls in Science

One of my favourite things about the Chemistry Department is that you always have access to teachers and help if you are ever struggling with a topic. There are clinics almost every day and they are run by different members of the department so you can go to whichever one you feel most comfortable going to.

I believe it is important to get girls more involved in science at a younger age and introduce them to famous female scientists as well as male ones such as Marie Curie. 

Thanks to Lancing, I am planning on studying Chemical Engineering at university and am currently waiting for all my universities to make their decisions before I make my firm choice.

Costanza D, Upper Sixth

Further Mathematics, Chemsitry, French

My favourite thing about learning science at Lancing is being able to ask questions, not only on the course but on more wider topics that make the syllabus more interesting and engaging for me. This is specifically relevant in biology in the immunology topic because I felt I was able to question it and gather how this is applied in every day life in medicine which is a field I am interested in.

Ella T

I think that sometimes girls have less confidence in regards to their academics than boys, which means they are scared to ask for help. I think it's important to know that scientists are meant to have questions and it doesn't mean you're stupid if you have a lot of questions - I certainly do! 

Recently I have been looking at courses in Chemistry and Biology, in particular I am looking at Biochemistry and Biomedical science at Oxford and Warwick. Biochemistry is something that captivates me as it looks at how chemistry at a molecular level affects everything about a living organism. Oxford, in particular, has an incredible biochemistry research centre. 

My whole life I have been fascinated by science, but I think this year from starting A-levels at Lancing College I have been encouraged  by all my teachers to get involved more with the content than at GCSE. The teaching at Lancing enables me to look to the future; how we are able to shape and change the world for the better through science.

Ella T, Lower Sixth

Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Economics

We are very lucky here at Lancing, as we have a good number of young women involved in science at A Level. This is helping to empower more girls to make the decision to continue with sciences beyond GCSE’s. I personally love seeing how impressed people seem when you tell them you are taking a science! Lancing has an excellent support system of weekly clinics and amazing teachers who really open up the A Levels to a range of abilities. In biology, we have a system called ‘Biology Ambassadors’ which I am lucky to be a part of. We help out in open days and subject choice morning for younger years, along with helping others in our houses who may have questions about a specific subject. 

I am hoping to go to medical school after I finish my A Levels. One of my main attractions to joining Lancing was the well-established Medics Society, which I am now a part of. We also have an upcoming trip to the Brighton Medical School to see a dissection which I’m really looking forward to! I am so grateful to Lancing College for helping to make my dream feel like a real possibility and all the support Lancing has to offer. 

Millie D, Lower Sixth

Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry 

My favourite thing about studying science at Lancing College are the practicals, such as re-crystallisation to purify an organic solid in Chemistry to dissecting kidneys in Biology. 

My advice is to constantly ask your teachers questions on why certain things work the way they do. I also find it helpful to read from New Scientist or watch YouTube videos, like ones by ‘Amoeba Sisters’, on the topics that you’ve enjoyed learning in class. There are so many amazing opportunities out there from online courses like EDT’s Industrial Cadets, to taster lectures, to science essay competitions. The Royal Society also holds an annual Summer Science Exhibition with lots of interactive activities and guest speakers to listen to.

I plan on continuing my study in science by studying Medical Bioscience at Imperial College London where I have received an offer from.

Tiffany Y, Upper Sixth

Biology, Chemistry, Further Mathematics

One of my favourite discoveries from women in science is CRISPR gene editing by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier as it creates endless new opportunities in the world of molecular life science. 

Tiffany Y

Inspiring Science Teachers

Lancing College is blessed to have a fantastic array of female teachers across the STEM subjects. The teaching staff at Lancing College routinely excel in providing outstanding pastoral care, invigorating education, and ensuring the academic success and well being of all Lancing College pupils. 



In Biology, Mrs Phillipa Faulkner, Mrs Jane Robinson, and Miss Gabrielle Boutin lead the charge.

After completing a BSc and MA, Mrs Jane Robinson worked in research laboratories in Cambridge and Northern Ireland on the European Prospective into Cancer research project. In 2006, she moved to Switzerland with her family and worked in international schools, teaching the IB Diploma and IGCSE. After a few years, Mrs Robinson started leading the Environmental Science Department and teaching Environmental Systems and Societies as well as Biology.

Mrs Phillippa Faulkner joined Lancing in 2011 as Head of Biology and in 2017 became Assistant Head - Academic. 

Miss Gabrielle Boutin only joined Lancing College recently, but has quickly cemented herself within the culture of the College. Having previously worked in Cardiology for the NHS, Gabrielle now helps with the Lancing College Medics Society, alongside Mrs Fern Britnell.


Mrs Fern Britnell and Mrs Helen Robinson make up the dream team as the women in our Chemistry department. Both are superstars within our House system – Fern is the Housemistress for Sankeys House and Helen works as her Co-Assistant Housemistress. Both these fantastic educators pride themselves on providing the best they can to our pupils - Fern volunteers with our Minerva Scout Unit whilst Helen heads up our overseas university applications, supporting student successes across the globe.



We were recently joined by new Head of Physics, Dr Marica Dowell, who holds a PhD in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Upon the completion of her doctorate at the University of Glasgow, Marica accepted a position as a Research Fellow in renal imaging at the Radiology and Physics Unit at University College London, where she worked for 7 years until she decided to move into education. Dr Dowell is joined in the department by Mrs Michelle Porter who, after working for an engineering consultancy looking at coastal flood defences, turned to teaching, studying for her PGCE at Cambridge University in 2011–12.

Outstanding OLs in Science Fields

Vivi Li, Field's House, 2021–2023

Vivi Li left Lancing College just last summer after achieving a sensational five A* grades in her A-Levels. She went on to study Biological Sciences at Oxford University, ranked 3rd in the world for the course, and is enjoying her studies there immensely. She recently caught up with Head of Biology, Mrs Jane Robinson, and shared her experience. 

"Tutorials are great fun - we often go off topic and discuss interesting things I’ve read such as glass frog and snowball earth.  My personal tutor is a statistician who does research on genomics and biofilms. I've also started coding lessons using R. We have computer classes every week and last time there was an interesting session on using Pymol to visualise the structures of proteins and tRNAs."


I'm often surprised by how broad my course is. My essay questions range from 'Why do leaves turn red' to 'Tinbergen's four questions' to 'What would life look like on other planets' to 'How do enzymes catalyse reactions?' Our lectures and tutorials also made me fall in love with evolution. I love the idea of fitness landscape, social evolution and the contingency of evolution. Our lecturer Stuart West introduced me to selfish gene elements which are fascinating. I realised that I love complex theories with conflicting evidence. I also did an assessed Microbiology practical. I made lots of bacterial plates and used oil immersed lens to view gram stain results. I’m introduced to so much more new concepts and ideas that I’ve never encountered before and Oxford is such an academically challenging place to be. We are so lucky to have the Natural History Museum and Botanic Gardens as teaching resources. 



Marisa Amato, Sankey's House, 2006–2008

Marisa Amato, OL (house), is consultant at Technopolis Group and often returns to Lancing to inspire and encourage our pupils to pursue their career goals and impart essential advice. Last summer, Marisa spoke at our Junior Scholars Event and last term she joined us for our Annual Careers Fair for Fifth and Sixth Formers. 

She writes,

I love the fact we have a special day to celebrate women in science, however, I also think we should celebrate how far women have come to set the stage in the science world every day! We still have a lot of work to do but I believe it starts with women and girls supporting each other. When I was in school, most science teachers were male, but I had two amazing female science teachers during my time at Lancing College, who inspired and supported me in my pursuit of becoming a scientist. Of course, some of my male science teachers were also very helpful and supportive whenever I needed advise on what University courses to choose. My time at Lancing was definitely where I discovered my passion for science. I cannot remember who it was, but it was a science teacher at Lancing who told me that for my undergraduate degree, I should choose a subject that is broader like biochemistry instead of a very niche subject like Forensic Science (I wanted to become a CSI at the time!) I think that was the best advice I have ever received and one I always share with anyone who is applying to Universities because I have changed my mind many times about what I wanted to do!

My message to young budding female scientists - never let others tell you that you cannot do something! When I was 16/17 years old, I did, and that was the very last time I listened. It is okay to not fit the "stereotype" of what others perceive as female scientists, and know that you can and do whatever you set your mind to. I've been there and you know what I am proud to be a scientist who was a cheerleader, still goes to heels dance classes and loves fashion! Now I’m in pursuit to complete my PhD, people asked what is driving me to not give up. My answer is that because someone once told me I could never get a PhD!


Read more from Marisa:

Science Cheerleaders 

Marisa's OL Profile

Continued Reading

Upcoming Open Days

We hope you have enjoyed reading about Science at Lancing College. If you are looking for a nurturing and ambitious environment to study A Levels this September, we strongly encourage you to consider Lancing College as your launching pad to your career in Science.

Read about our enhanced Sixth Form offer and peruse our range of A Level offers. Book onto our upcoming Sixth Form Open Event to see the wonder of the College in person with the opportunity to talk to our students, Head Master, Heads of Subject and view our Science Labs.

For those of you looking for supportive GCSE options, why not have a read about our GCSE courses and join us in celebrating 80% A*-B results last summer. We welcome you to join us at our Open Events for Third Form (Year 9) entry on 24 February, 28 April, and 18 May.



Of course, STEM does not just include the hard sciences, but technology, engineering and mathematics as well. Last September, our sensational results in Maths at both GCSE and A Level spoke for themselves, being not only the most subscribed subject at Lancing, but also the most successful. We explored the talents and accolades of our Maths department in a recent article in The Quad, which highlights just how hard our Maths team work to get the absolute best out of all our pupils. In the upcoming Lent Term edition of The Quad, we will be discussing the CREST Gold Award at Lancing College, a prestigious award that recognizes students who have completed an in-depth project that requires a minimum of 70 hours of work. Here at Lancing, we work in collaboration with the expertise of a local Engineering Firm, Ricardo, to provide this amazing opportunity to our students. Keep an eye out for The Quad at the end of Lent Term.