STEMazing goes global

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08 December 2021
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STEMazing Ambassador and World Refrigeration Day STEMAZING Committee Chair, Lisa-Jayne Cook, sales service manager at GEA Heating and Refrigeration Technologies, outlines ambitious plans to inspire women the world over.

As we head towards the New Year and what will be a fresh term at school, the second wave of STEMazing Women are preparing to deliver their STEMazing Inspiration Academy classes with primary school pupils from all over the country.  

The future continues to look favourable for this invaluable programme as World Refrigeration Day is continuing to partner with STEMazing for 2022. This time we are aiming bigger - we have opened applications with a global reach for an International STEMazing Inspiration Academy that will bring together women in RACHP from around the world.

The SIA supports women in STEM to shine as visible role models and inspires young people through fun, interactive STEM sessions. The pilot scheme launched early in 2021 was an outstanding success, training no less than 45 women to deliver engaging STEM lessons aimed at children aged between seven and nine while helping those women find their confidence on and off the screen. Many of the first wave of women have become STEM Ambassadors after completing their training and continue to deliver fun and interactive STEM sessions online and face-to-face.  

 

On an international scale

The International programme will take place over three months, delivering the required tools to build confidence on camera and provide the women with a portfolio of sensational STEM sessions that can be delivered with ease. The SIA training empowers women to excel at public engagement, change outdated perceptions and leave a legacy to inspire the next generation. These female role models then deliver a four-week programme of live STEM sessions into educational settings across the globe.  

Thanks to the generous sponsors of WRD, the programme will again be delivered free of charge to the women and the schools participating, benefiting both the schools and families and promoting areas not yet covered in our curriculums, such as engineering. In addition, hands-on simple STEM activities and experiments provide children subject to a lack of funding to learn the value of curiosity, creativity, and courage in innovation and design - skills easily transferable into other curriculum areas. 

Alex Knight, an award-winning engineer and creator of The STEMazing Inspiration Academy, maintains that “We need more people to choose STEM careers full stop, but desperately need more diversity in these fields.  I hope this programme will give more women in STEM the confidence and tools to shine as visible role models and feel empowered to step forward and inspire our future generations of innovators and problem-solvers.  It is important to give young children examples of female STEM role models early, as we know gender stereotypes are formed way before they reach secondary school and start deciding what subjects they want to pursue.  We need to change the stereotype that science, technology, engineering, and maths are better suited to boys.’’

Knight has worked closely with well-known RACHP industry figure and equality, diversity & inclusion champion, Steve Gill, of World Refrigeration Day. Gill has actively promoted SIA through his social media channels, recruiting and proposing women from across the RACHP sector to join the STEMazing pilot programme that ran early in 2021. The current target is that at least 30 women will be included in the international programme, but this number may be increased if funding allows. Gill, said: “There is no upper limit to the number of women and schools that can participate currently; however, we are restricted by sponsorship levels.” 

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Registration opened mid -November and run through until mid-January, with the selection of the participants taking place immediately afterwards. Successful applicants will be informed before the start of February 2022.

If you would like to participate in the International programme or know someone who would benefit from the course, please register your interest with World Refrigeration Day. 

RACHP STEM role models

Amy Gittoes, commercial manager at Arctic Circle

“I absolutely loved taking part in the STEMAZING programme, and my favourite part was knowing that I was taking part in something that was truly purposeful. The program was a fantastic platform to firstly engage with other incredible women and women who want the same thing - to encourage the next generation of young people to consider the opportunity for them in STEM subjects. Before taking part, I hadn’t considered myself an appropriate candidate to become a STEM Ambassador; however, STEMazing has given me the confidence to do so, and I am currently going through the application process. Before delivering each session, I ran through the experiments with my five-year-old and two and a half-year-old, having lots of fun and discovering that our favourite experiment was discovering which toys floated or how far they sank.  I often feel like we should be talking about rocket scientists or engineers that make planes fly! I had forgotten about the infrastructure around the world that is so reliant on people in STEM, and I hadn’t considered how much even my role utilises some of the key concepts we spoke about during our training. I would wholeheartedly recommend other women to take part in STEMazing - it truly has been wonderful!

Victoria Ollerenshaw, contracts administration manager at Carter Synergy 

“Being able to be a part of the pilot STEMazing Inspiration Academy has both opened my eyes to the opportunities within the RACHP sector and made me realise my potential. I have been incredibly lucky to work with people from all walks of life and have thoroughly enjoyed presenting STEM sessions to young school children. Even though I have worked in the industry for 14 years, I didn’t believe I was qualified enough for it. However, looking at my then nine-year-old daughter, I wondered who her roles models were, and I realised that her role model was me. Thanks to my newfound confidence from participating in the program, I am now registered as a STEM Ambassador, and I have completed an HVAC technician course, passing with distinction. I am now working on my Level 4 in Business and Administration and being more widely involved in important workstreams across the business. So to other women thinking about taking part - do it!  Please get involved; this is a programme which is both challenging and rewarding in equal measure.”

Lisa Pogson, managing director at AirMaster 

As someone who has been a registered STEM Ambassador for well over ten years, taking part in hands-on activities with children of all ages wasn’t new for me. What is new is the unique and engaging way the STEMazing Inspiration Academy sessions are planned and delivered.  Covid brought an interesting twist to the running of the sessions, as we had to take everything online, whereas, in the past, I was very much used to face-to-face delivery. Having said that, it was an absolute delight to see the children’s faces smiling back at me each week, even if going online did bring its unique challenges. As we got stuck into the STEM sessions, it quickly became apparent that these were far more than simple experiments; the classes brought depth where I had not expected it. The teachers and staff enjoyed the classes as much as the children, with one commenting that we had reignited their love of STEM. More importantly, I noticed that the children’s vocabulary had begun to grow, sparked by a new interest in STEM and all things STEMazing.”