Three women from Ingleton Wood have been praised for delivering “amazing” online sessions to primary school pupils as part of a new initiative to help inspire the next generation of the STEM workforce.
After receiving training from Alexandra, the trio delivered six weekly online sessions to pupils aged 7-9 in primary schools to encourage both girls and boys to see STEM as fun and exciting. Sessions included live step-by-step demonstrations to help the children to create their own ‘STEM masterpieces.’
Rebecca Howard, Senior Planner, said: “The opportunity to inspire the next generation into STEM careers has been very rewarding. These children already have the skills and ability to explore a career in STEM by being creative, curious, and courageous.
“Seeing them grow in confidence over the course and query how the experiments relate to real life issues was a particular highlight for me. It showed that there was a genuine interest in STEM amongst the students, which hopefully they will continue to explore.”
In 2021, Alexandra Knight combined her work on projects STEMAZINGWomen and STEMAZINGKids to launch the STEMazing Inspiration Academy. Over 100 women took part as STEM ambassadors across Europe, USA and Africa. Together they inspired over 3,700 children with a series of six STEMAZINGKids sessions over six weeks (that’s over 22,000 individual STEM experiences for the children in total) in the project’s first year.
Alexandra said: “We received brilliant support from Ingleton Wood and their ambassadors who worked incredibly hard to deliver high-quality and interactive online sessions to help inspire dozens of primary school children, especially girls, to become interested in STEM at an early age. This is so crucial to help remove barriers and address the gender disparity across many industries.
“STEMazing has exceeded our expectations in its first year and I can’t wait to see it go from strength to strength. While it can be easy to lose the engagement of young people over Zoom, our ambassadors were amazing at keeping the children involved through interactive hands-on activities and we received loads of positive feedback from the children and schools that the programme was extremely fun and inspiring.”
Richard Severn, Year 5 teacher at Chalgrove Primary School in Barnet, where Zoe Sparks delivered her STEM sessions, said: “The sessions were fun, engaging and educational. The children thoroughly enjoyed them and really looked forward to the activities.”
STEMazing is championed by female ambassadors to break down stereotypes that STEM careers are just for men. The initiative showcased further inclusivity in STEM with around 20% of ambassadors representing ethnic minorities and one deaf female engineer delivering her sessions in British Sign Language to a deaf and hearing impaired class.
Zoe Sparks, Structural Engineer, said: “These sessions are so important for breaking down stereotypes. STEM careers are for everyone, and seeing diverse role models in STEM from an early age will help to inspire an inclusive workforce for the future.”
Lily Green, Qualified Architect, added: “Leading the sessions has provided me with a sense of achievement, as I know we are making a positive contribution by being visible role models to these children. The pupils were extremely engaged and enthusiastic to be learning about STEM in a fun way.”
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Qualified architect Lily Green, who began working at Ingleton Wood in 2018 through an apprenticeship scheme.
Rebecca Howard is a Senior Planner at Ingleton Wood’s Colchester office and is MRTPI qualified.
Zoe Spark, a qualified Structural Engineer, works from Ingleton Wood’s London office.
Alexandra Knight, founder and CEO of STEMazing, is an award-winning engineer, presenter and diversity advocate.