Imperial Girls Can Profiles

This week we are promoting what 'Imperial Girls Can' do. 

Below are some expamples of what different memebers of clubs, departments and campuses are getting involved with and why female engagement is important to them. 

Imperial Girls Can Profiles

Imperial Girls Can - Play Rugby



Name:    Abigail Dow     

Degree:     Mechanical Engineering (2nd Year)

Story of physical activity

I have played rugby from the age of 5, when I used to play with the boys at Maidenhead RFU. From there I continued to play, moving on to girl’s rugby at Reading RFU. In u15s I was selected for divisionals and called up into the TDG (talent development programme). At the age of 18 I moved to Wasps FC and was trialled and selected to play for the England U20s where I got 5 caps and a sevens contract offer at the end of that season (however turned it down to go to university). Unfortunately, the next season I was injured and ill however this season I got selected for the EPS (elite player squad) and in October played in an England development game against South Africa. This November I got selected to play in the Autumn internationals which would consist of 3 test matches against Canada and have received my 1st senior cap.

As well as being a rugby player I have also been a keen swimmer and competed at nationals.

What do you get involved with at Imperial?

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to try out more sports but I do use the ethos gym when I can

Why is Female Engagement important?

Sport is a great way of developing your personality and each individual can benefit physically and mentally. Whether it’s a team sport or individual, it sets you targets and life lessons that are hard to learn anywhere else. The most important reason for girls to engage is that if they don’t, they will miss out on all the fun!

One line that sums up your reasons and motivations for doing what you do?

My competitive drive

Follow Abigail's Story with England Rugby on social media too! 

Imperial Girls Can - Play Netball

Imperial Netball Club- EllenName: Ellen Fletcher

Degree: Biological Sciences

Story of Physical Activity: 

There is a school photo of me captaining the badminton team through to our Regional Finals that has managed to haunt my University social life (not to self: do not go back to a bob haircut) – but I think that says it all; sport has been fundamental to my upbringing and I wouldn’t have got through University without it. I had never played Netball before University; and 3 years later I’ve ended up as Club Captain. Despite being determined to return to my badminton roots in first year, I could not tear myself away from the ICUNC girls. I also ran a couple of half marathons and 10km races on the side last year (casual), and can frequently be seen along the Thames path at the moment training for the 2018 London Marathon! I’m in part terrified of the marathon, because honestly, I sometimes need my inhaler just going up the Library stairs, but it is 100% worth it for that finishing feeling (and for a free t-shirt and a banana #stash). 

What do you get involved with at Imperial?

I’m currently Imperial College Netball Club Captain, so I play netball (and spam social media/email accounts) while occasionally doing by degree on the side.  Part of this has involved an initiative to get netballers into Strength and Conditioning sessions (I would 100% recommend the club wide sessions which have become available this year!) – despite a questionable start which involved aching for about 4 days after our first session, we’re finally seeing development and it’s incredible to make fitness progress together off the court. 

Why is Female Engagement is important? 

With the underrepresentation of women in STEM, females at Imperial can often be in the minority. Playing sport gives an opportunity for female empowerment; women can bring diversity and alternative approaches to sport, building stronger social integration and a unity between mixed sports teams. 

One line that sums up your reasons and motivations for doing what you do? 

The community centred around sport is completely unique and irreplaceable. 

Imperial Girls Can- Play Handball


Name:        Imperial Eagles 

Degree:      Multiple 

Story of physical activity

Well, first thing first. What the heck is handball? Handball is a sport that is big in Europe and is only just starting to grow in England. But it is growing quickly!

Handball is a very fast sport played with a ball in your hand. The aim of the game is to use your six teammates to score goals by throwing the ball into a goal past a goalkeeper. What are the main features of handball? Pace and flair! The best way to score is to confuse the defence with tricks and complex team moves. The best thing about handball? The goals! It is standard practice for there to be 50 goals in a single 60-minute game, making it one of the most exciting games you can play!

Our women’s team is a huge source of pride to our club. When the Eagles were born, we only had a couple of female members and had to team up with King’s College just to get enough people to play. Now, we officially match the imperial ratio of “guys: girls” in our club, and have a successful women’s team competing (and winning) in LUSL and a national university competition.

In fact, our women’s team was even more successful than the men’s team last year, and was one of the best university handball teams in the country, winning a trophy at the National University Tournament.

The women’s team is a fundamental part of our club. Our club board is 40% women, with the ladies holding down two of the most important roles; treasurer and captain! 

What do you get involved with at Imperial?

There are tonnes of things we do at Imperial. From training and competitions, to socials and parties! If you want to come and get involved and see what it is like to be part of the Eagles family, then here is how you can get involved.

Training! If you fancy coming along then we train on Saturday mornings at 10am-12pm. Feel free to pop along to any of them, just give our president Jamie, (, a quick note to let us know!

Give it a go! We are running several give it a go sessions this term. We advertise all of them on our facebook page; “Imperial Eagles Handball Club”. They are open to all levels, feel free to pop along even if you have never played before!

Socials! Being social is a big part of being an eagle. We are firm believers that it is important to make time to have some fun at Imperial, and having fun with your teammates is a big part of being a successful team. Our socials are all advertised on our Facebook group. If you are not a member and would like to come along to one to meet us, then just drop a line to our club email to let us know you are coming (!

Why is Female Engagement important?

We really want as many people as possible to come and play a sport (even if it is not handball!) because we think playing sport has a lot of power to de-stress you, and if there is one things we could all do with at Imperial it is less stress! If female engagement gets more women to come and play sport, then it is very important.

We also really like to think of the Eagles as a family, and a big part of that is making sure everyone feels included at the club. Female engagement is a really important part of that.

One line that sums up your reasons and motivations for doing what you do?

Everyone at our club loves Handball and loves being an eagle. We want to do everything we can to make the Eagles, and the sport of Handball, as big as possible at Imperial!

Imperial Girls Can - Play Ice Hockey

Imperial Devils- Ice Hockey Name:         Patricia Henne

Degree:      Molecular Medicine

Story of physical activity

To be honest, I never really was a part of a sports club or anything similar as a child but was always interested in winter sports which is why I spent most of my winter holidays at ice rinks or on ski slopes. Even though I was keen to join an ice hockey team early on, I did not live in close proximity of an ice rink and unfortunately the team’s that did train close by would not accept female players. After having finished my undergraduate degree, I moved to Switzerland and finally had the chance to start playing ice hockey which I immediately fell in love with. I have been an ice hockey goaltender for roughly four years now and currently train three times a week with additional games or tournaments on the weekends. Furthermore, I started coaching the goalies of a special needs ice hockey team called the Werewolves on my free Saturday’s which is very rewarding.

What do you get involved with at Imperial?

When I applied to different universities for my Master’s degree, the presence of an ice hockey team strongly contributed to my decision to attend Imperial. Since I did not know anyone in London up to that point, I thought this would be a good way to make friends and the Imperial Devils has enabled me to meet some amazing people over the last three years. In general, the Devils offer great opportunities to anyone interested in ice hockey. We have regular training sessions, competitive games, fun socials and we play tournaments within and outside the UK as well as hosting a huge varsity game in which we play against UCL once a year.

Why is Female Engagement important?

Having a background in a sport that usually is dominated by males (in my experience, in mixed teams there are three to four females in teams of 50 to 100 registered players), I personally think it is important not to be afraid of being one of the only girls around. I haven’t experienced any problems with any of my team members treating me differently than they would treat a male team mate. I hope this will be true for every team sport but in my experience ice hockey is not focused on your gender but more importantly being part of a team – so I would say it is not specifically female engagement but general engagement that is important.

One line that sums up your reasons and motivations for doing what you do?

I am convinced that there is a perfect sport for everyone that allows you to forget everything around you for a short while, that helps you clear your head and that makes you feel part of a community and I know ice hockey is mine.