STEM Girls visit University of East London

A group of high achieving year 10 girls went on their first university visit on Wednesday 3rd July 2019. We visited the University of East London in Stratford to raise their awareness of STEM courses that can be studied, we toured the campus, took part in a maths challenge and the girls were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and chat with some STEM role models.

The day started meeting in one of the lecture theatres and they were assigned to groups splitting our girls and integrating them with four other OAT academies. They interacted in a study skills session where they were given a range of activities to revise the same topic. The girls were asked for their feedback on which revision activity was most useful for them personally.

During the next session the girls were introduced to some current students at UEL studying STEM courses. They described the structure and content of their courses including Medical Science, Forensic Psychology and Sport Physical Education. This was useful to demonstrate to the pupils that there are a range of different courses to study at degree not just the main stream e.g. Biology/Chemistry etc. The message from the organisers and the students was there were many different paths they can take and they do not have to know exactly what they want to do when they are “grown up”. It was encouraged to study something that interests you and that you excel in and most degrees will result in opening doors into a variety of careers. Having studied a slightly different degree to most of my co-workers I can concur that this is indeed the case.

The girls were then introduced to some STEM role models who work in a variety of companies including Amazon, UK Power Networks, Network Rail and one lady was studying a PhD in immunology whereby she created synthetic proteins and was using them to research why people have certain allergies, absolutely fascinating stuff! One of the role models brought a section of underground electricity cables and was discussing step up and step down transformers which they learn in Physics, it was insightful to meet people who actually deal with some of the abstracts that they learn in school. This particular lady was explaining how she applies some of the equations they learn in physics during her working day. Another displayed software that Network Rail use to plan the architecture of busy stations to show the flow of people and help restructure train stations to minimise the flow at peak times. A profound experience for the girls to be educated about so many career options that are available to them.

The day was brought to a close by taking part in a very competitive maths challenge which even the staff were engaged in! They worked in school teams and were given part of a dragon puzzle every time they answered one of the complex problem solving questions correctly. We were so proud of our ORA girls who demonstrated exceptional teamwork using their knowledge and skills in maths to problem solve and extend their dragon!

Overall the day was a resounding success which was fascinating for the girls to experience and they are lucky enough to have four more Universities to experience in year 11. We are all looking forward to the next instalment!

Mrs Morgan, Science.

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