STEMettes’ ‘Routes into STEM’

12314435_1118168351534580_6732088087825397103_oA little over two weeks ago on the 5th December, the STEMettes took over Imperial (well the Math’s department)! 200 girls of GCSE and A-level age, as well as 9 panellists, including myself, had an afternoon of networking and discussions based around the topic ‘Routes into STEM’. The aim of the day was to give the girls a glimpse into the exciting world of STEM and the possible careers in these fields.

Of course, anything to do with STEM, outreach and women at Imperial is organised by the unfathomably enthusiastic Jess Wade. If you have read any of my previous blog posts you will already know how awesome she is! She organised the day alongside The STEMettes in her role as chair of the Women in Physics; a society that provides an abundance of opportunities for schoolgirls to discover the scientific world.

The afternoon started with a panel conversation and Q&A between the panel chair, computing prodigy Anne-Marie Imafidon, and the rest of us 9 panellists. In short, the other 8 people I sat next to were some of the coolest and most inspirational individuals I have met. It was fascinating to learn of their own routes to STEM, current careers and future plans. We were each given 2 minutes to talk about how we got into STEM, followed by a Christmas themed question (of course!) and a sprightly Q&A with the audience.

The panellists consisted of:

  • Me!
  • Sophie Deen – CEO, Bright Little Labs.
  • Androula Alekou – Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Oxford University
  • Emma-Ashley Liles – Software Developer, 7Digital, CASInclude
  • Floriane Fidegnon – Outbox Incubator Executive, Lead Author of ‘Outbox: The Book’
  • Olivia Smith – Office 365 & Yammer Customer Success Manager for UK and Central & Eastern Europe.
  • Sarah Chapman – CEO, Iwana Energy
  • ‘Mystery Man’ Jamie Edge – iOS developer, Barclays
  • ‘Secret Stemette’ Dan Garrett – CEO, Farewill

If you would like to find out more about each of the panellist’s google their names and you will find a plethora of great tweets, websites and interviews about/with them. I would also highly recommend heading over to Jess’ page, where she perfectly encapsulates everyone’s stories as well as the questions and responses from the panel conversations, in her own blog post about the event. Trust me, it is a must read! http://makingphysicsfun.com/2015/12/05/another-saturday-spent-filling-imperial-with-teenage-girls/

After the panel discussions, a networking session took place fuelled by branded cupcakes and other sweet treats. It was brilliant to speak to so many bright young girls who clearly had a genuine passion for science. I also saw  a great opportunity in being able to offer advice to the girls that I would have given to my 16 year old self and answer questions that I never found out the answer to at that age. Definitely a very feel-good and fulfilling few hours.

The day ended with some feedback and inspirational advice, as well as a prize giving from the ‘Get to Know’ quiz given out at the beginning of the afternoon. Girls were tasked with finding out details about the panellists, for example, who are CEOs? who can speak more than one language? who is a karate instructor in their spare time? who is an elephant conversationist (I wonder who that last one was about….!)

From what I have heard the event received much praise, with 97% of attendees saying that their confidence in STEM subjects had increased a little or a lot after the panel! Brilliant and job well done.

It was a true pleasure to be a part of the panel and enjoy an afternoon aiming to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams in STEM.

To find out more about the day including a short video of snippets of our speeches follow the below links:

Imperial news article
http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/naturalsciences/physics/newssummary/news_17-12-2015-23-16-23

STEMettes blog
https://stemettes.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/heres-what-young-women-are-saying-about-our-imperial-college-panel/

– Lucinda

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