Valerie Randle has been a Materials Engineer in Swansea University since 1992, and was Head of the Materials Research Centre 2007-2009. The high spots of her career were that she was Welsh Woman of the Year during 1998-1999. As a consequence of this she has twice given a keynote presentation on International Women’s Day, she has featured on television and radio programmes in her laboratory talking about her work, she has written many articles, and she was frequently asked to be a guest speaker. In 2004 she was invited as a guest of HM the Queen to a luncheon at Buckingham Palace for the ‘top 180 female achievers in the country’. From 2008 she has been included in Who’s Who.
Valerie left school when she was sixteen, got married at eighteen and had two children by the age of twenty. She lived in a Council house during the early years of her marriage. When she was twenty-seven she went to Cardiff University and got a degree in Metallurgy and Materials Science. She then did a PhD and eventually was awarded a Royal Society Research Fellowship which took her to Swansea University, where she was awarded a Chair in 1999. She has published some 370 research papers and five textbooks, and given many invited lectures all over the world. Valerie says that throughout her career, she has been fortunate to have received tremendous encouragement and support from her two husbands, both of whom have now passed away.
Valerie believes that women respond positively to credible – that is, not Superwoman – role models. She further believes that work/life balance is a crucial consideration and that it is up to each individual to decide what is right for their own circumstances.
In 2013, at age sixty, she chose to take early retirement because she wanted to concentrate on new and different aspects of her life. She now has five grandchildren, and enjoys spending time with them, plus writing a novel, singing, volunteering with Cruse Bereavement Care, studying Spanish, walking, swimming and meditation.