University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings


Mary began her career working for residential and commercial estate agents, leading teams to expand and manage client property portfolios. After taking a career break to have her daughters, Mary joined the University of Reading to study BSc Building Surveying.

While studying for her undergraduate degree, Mary represented South East England at the Women in Property Awards organised by Women in Property, an organisation that aims to create opportunities and inspire change for women working in the property and construction industry.

Women in property and construction

In an industry traditionally conceived as male-dominated, only 28% of all board members in construction are women (Construction Management, 2021). Mary is passionate about achieving equal representation of women and people from diverse backgrounds in senior positions. 

“This is particularly important to me as a mum of two young daughters. I also feel that there is an unrealised source of talented women from other industries and those such as myself, who are returning from a career break. Attracting these experienced women into the industry is equally as important as appealing to the next generation and I would be delighted if my journey could inspire others.”

A humbling experience

In 2022, Mary was one of three winners at the South East regional final of the Women in Property Awards, inspiring women pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, surveying and planning. 

“I was extremely humbled to have been put forward for the Women in Property Awards – it was an absolute honour to represent the University of Reading. Attending the South East regional interview and having to give a presentation to the judges was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating, giving me fantastic exposure to a panel of industry experts who I would not necessarily have met so early in my career." 

“Winning the regional final and then progressing to the national final gave me further opportunity to meet some fantastic fellow female students as well as the inspirational women already working in the sector. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time at university and I look forward to becoming a member of Women in Property upon graduation.” 

An inclusive environment

Mary has felt extremely supported during her studies and hopes to charter shortly after graduation. 

At the University of Reading we help you grow your aspirations, as well as the key relationships that will benefit you throughout your future career – not just with our academics, but with industry professionals in our international network.

“I will be starting work as a Building Surveyor at Hollis in London after graduation. Looking ahead, I would like to continue to learn; to work collaboratively with others; to never stagnate; to always be challenged and to hopefully grow and develop into a progressive, respected leader who opens doors for others.”

 For women and people from diverse backgrounds thinking about studying construction, surveying or engineering, Mary wanted to pass on the following advice:

“Go for it! You will get out of any degree what you put into it, but there is a great support network available at the School of Built Environment at Reading and the effort is well worthwhile.

“I have found the course modules to be cognitively stimulating, very well structured and led by extremely approachable lecturers. The learning in each year builds upon the knowledge gained in the preceding years. What I have gained in terms of knowledge, commercial insight and soft skills acquired from collaborative work, has provided me with a solid base from which to launch a (hopefully) successful career.”

Learn more about the School of Built Environment

Josh Smith in graduation cap and gown

Josh Smith: dream graduate role

Josh credits the School's supportive community, adaptable courses and regular industry networking events with helping him attain his dream graduate role at Turner & Townsend.
Black and white image of Lanre Onanuga

Lanre Onanuga: a lifelong ambition

The unique flexibility of our undergraduate courses enabled Lanre to pursue projects and issues he was passionate about during his degree. 


Louise Lawson: successful networking

As President of the Reading University Construction Society (RUCS), Louise helped other students to build their industry networks, secure placements and join the School's supportive community.

Athena SWAN Silver Award