Construction Project Manager, The British Museum

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STEM is just as much for you as it is anyone else.

Shaynesia Byfield

What do you do?

I oversee all phases of construction, from start to finish, ensuring that the project is completed on time and within budget and scope.

Why did you choose this field?

My career in construction was not intentional. It was not something that I thought about growing up. At school I was a science girl through and through. I took on a Biology degree and although I thoroughly loved it, after taking placements during my studies, I realised working in the field was not for me. Upon graduating I worked for a maintenance contractor and learned about surveying in construction. Acquiring a love for all things buildings, I joined Transport for London as a Graduate Quantity Surveyor, studied an MSc in Construction Management & Economics part time & joined the largest museum in London as a Construction Project Manager.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

All projects that I have worked on can be seen to date. Knowing that I have left my mark in various pockets of London and to be able to say ‘I built that’ is a tremendous feeling. You feel a sense of pride.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love working in STEM because it bridges all of us together. I often get asked how I managed the change from science to construction. Science and construction is heavily interlinked. Consideration of the science behind materials used for ‘said’ building is required, as well as understanding the mechanisms that cause buildings to deteriorate. I use my knowledge of science without thinking.

Best advice for next generation?

100% go for it. No matter the type of girl you are, STEM is just as much for YOU as it is anyone else. Don’t be put off if you are one of few or the only girl on your class. There is a whole community of girls and women who are here to champion you for the amazing gem you are!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

’We look at science as something very elite, which only a few people can learn. That's just not true. You just have to start early and give kids a foundation. Kids live up, or down, to expectations.’’ - Mae Jemison (first Black woman in space).

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