Olivia is a marketing executive and a degree apprenticeship graduate, having studied with us over four years before gaining her BSc in Digital Technology Solutions. She is passionate about STEM opportunities for all, uncovering data bias and championing diverse career pathways.
Olivia features in our ‘Humans of LJMU’ series in collaboration with the ‘Humans of Liverpool’ social media account, sharing the stories of the people who make our city, communities and university the vibrant, inclusive place it is in celebration of our bicentenary year.
“I want to help bridge the gap between people and technology, to advocate for digital citizenship and to show young girls that their only limitations should be the ones they put on themselves.”
– Olivia Weston
Olivia’s ‘Humans of LJMU’ interview
“I think we have a massive challenge ahead to encourage people that technology is for them. AI has become so prominent in all walks of life that it’s almost ‘off the shelf’, but some people feel unsure or uneasy about where it will lead and how they should use it. The road ahead is unclear, but there are definitely huge positives, and everyone can benefit, no matter your age or gender.
“Growing up I was always aware that women particularly weren’t encouraged as much to pursue STEM careers. Then working in marketing for the engineering industry, I could see that gender disparity in play. I’d go to school events where young girls would say, ‘I’m not good at maths’ or ‘That’s for lads’. I’m passionate about addressing this because when you look into STEM careers, the opportunities are endless.
“When I chose to pursue a degree apprenticeship in computer science I was one of very few women on the entire course. That was initially quite daunting, and I felt like a less cool Elle Woods, but I had a great group of friends around me, and we supported each other to get through it whilst working full-time. I didn’t have any previous experience in coding or data analysis beforehand, but I managed to achieve a first. I’m really proud of that. It’s given me a newfound confidence. I’ve realised what I’m capable of, and it’s made me more data-driven in everything I do.
“Combining that with my passion for equality and inclusion, I enjoy decoding complex topics and bringing to light the lack of equality that exists within certain technologies, such as driverless cars and pharma-tech. These ‘new’ technologies can be brilliant if they are made accessible. We need to better understand how tech like AI works so we can understand how it’s influencing society. I want to help bridge the gap between people and technology, to advocate for digital citizenship and to show young girls that their only limitations should be the ones they put on themselves.”