Beyond the lab – why you don’t have to be a scientist to work in science

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, observed annually on February 11, was founded by the United Nations to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls around the world.

The day aims to achieve gender equality for women working in science and technology, empowering women and girls, and recognising the critical role that they play within these fields.

However, the world of science is not just for those wearing lab coats and handling test tubes. Working in this field offers a multitude of career paths for women that go beyond the traditional role of a scientist or researcher.

For example, at AlphaBiolabs, we are proud to say that women make up 80% of our senior management team.

Both our Head of Genetics and Head of Toxicology are women – working in more traditional science-focused roles – but a successful laboratory testing business is made up of much more than the laboratory.

Here, just a few of our female AlphaBiolabs colleagues share their thoughts on working in non-scientific roles in the science sector:

Carolyn Darbyshire – Sales Manager

Sales professionals in science require a good understanding of both the science behind their offerings and the needs of their customers, balancing technical knowledge with sales skills.

Carolyn says: “What excites me most about my role at AlphaBiolabs is that there is always an opportunity to learn something new, and to develop in a highly innovative industry.

“For women and girls looking to work in this sector, it’s important to keep up with industry trends. Follow relevant companies and connect with people on LinkedIn.

“It’s also important to know your strengths, play to them, and use them to show hiring managers where you will add real value.”

Ashley Hodgkinson – Sample Collections Manager

Sample collection professionals are responsible for collecting, handling, and sometimes processing samples for scientific analysis.

At AlphaBiolabs, this involves working with biological samples. However, in other scientific fields, it could include environmental samples, or any other material requiring scientific examination.

The work of sample collections is crucial for ensuring the integrity and reliability of the samples we receive, which has a direct impact on analysis and results.

Ashley says: “Every day at AlphaBiolabs is different. I’m always meeting new people and learning new things.

“To work in this sector, you need to be open to change and developing your skillset, as you never know when a new skill will come in handy.”

Rachael Rooney – Head of Customer Services

Customer service roles are just as important in the science sector as they are in other industries, helping the business to maintain its reputation through client relationships.

By addressing inquiries and concerns, and providing information about products or services, the customer service team ensures the customer has a positive experience.

Rachael says: “I love how committed AlphaBiolabs is to innovation. New methods are always being considered that will enable us to further enhance our service for customers.

“If you are passionate about customer experience and want to make a difference, a career in a science-based business is ideal. We really do put our customers at the heart of everything we do.

“My advice would be to know your products, understand your customers’ needs, act with empathy and most importantly, listen.”

Sharon Rendell – Facilities Manager

In a scientific organisation, the Facilities Manager plays a vital role in ensuring that the physical environment and infrastructure of the business is correctly maintained and optimised.

They oversee the management of laboratories and office spaces, ensuring that all facilities meet strict safety standards, regulatory compliance, and operational efficiency.

Sharon says: “I have been working for AlphaBiolabs for three years and during my time here my role has progressed from Office Manager to Facilities Manager.

“No two days are the same – one day I can be dealing with IT queries or maintenance issues, the next I can be carrying out risk assessments and planning office moves. I love the constant challenges.

“If you have a passion for the field that you want to progress in, go for it and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible.”

Diane Thomas – Head of Marketing

The marketing function is responsible for promoting scientific products, services, or research findings.

It creates awareness and generates interest through various strategies, including digital marketing, content creation, and public relations.

Communications specialists in science help bridge the gap between complex scientific information and the public. They translate scientific findings into understandable language, making science accessible to everyone.

Diane says: “Throughout my marketing career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in many sectors and industries, but I can honestly say that none have been as challenging or as rewarding as working in the scientific sector with AlphaBiolabs.

“Keep an open mind about the sector you work in and be willing to move sectors to expand upon your experience and broaden your skillset.

“Many people looking to work in marketing tend to focus on FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) roles, but the broader your experience, the greater the value and insight you can bring to your next role.”

Each of these roles contributes significantly to the overall success of the AlphaBiolabs business, opening the door for women with different talents, experience, and interests to contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge and the delivery of science-based services.

We provide a wide range of laboratory testing services for the public, including DNA tests, health tests and home drug and alcohol tests.

For more information about our services, call 727-325-2902 or email