UN schools event aims to get girls into science

Date 16.11.2015

The University of Northampton is helping to tackle the long term shortage of women working in science after hosting a special day of scientific activities for schoolgirls.

More than 80 Year 3 girls from 10 Northampton primary schools took part in the Getting The Buzz From Science day at the University on Wednesday 8 July.

The event saw the seven and eight year olds take part in a series of science-themed workshops and challenges and hear from scientists from the University.

It’s hoped the annual event will spark an interest in science as a career for the pupils – as the industry has a dire shortage of female professionals.

In 2014, the Women in Science, Technology and Engineering (WISE) campaign, published data which showed that, although the number of women engineering professionals has doubled since 2012, they continue to represent less than 10 per cent of the workforce – the lowest proportion in Europe. To reach even a modest target of 30 per cent, WISE calculates that the UK would need one million additional women in the science, technology and engineering workforce.

John Sinclair, Dean of the School of Science and Technology at the University, said: “There’s a of female scientists and the School of Science and Technology has played a role in championing getting girls into a science for a long time.

“It’s important to inspire girls at an early age, and make them understand that science isn’t just something you do in the classroom, but is an amazing career option.

“There are so many career possibilities within the sciences, and we hope that this event will really inspire the girls to consider them as they get older.”

The event included a welcome presentation from Ruth Copeland-Philips, Senior Lecturer in Waste Management at the University, a Knex ugly bug ball, hover board and air science from Atomic Science and a bee pollinator presentation from Jeff Ollerton, Professor of Biodiversity.

A series of workshops included punky pond life; my amazing brain; bugs, germs and things you can’t see; Anglian Water’s supply challenge and Mercedes engineering speed power parts. Psychology and maths workshops appeared for the first time this year led by staff and student STEM champions/ambassadors.

The primary schools taking part were Vernon Terrace, Bridgewater, Thorplands, St Mary’s, Kingsthorpe, Lings, Abington Vale, Barry, Ecton Brook and Lumbertubs.

The event was coordinated by Aim Higher Northamptonshire for the School of Science and Technology and the Higher Education Schools Engagement Team from the University’s Centre for Employability and Engagement.​