Monday, 6 February 2017

Spotlight on science careers

I secured a grant from the BSA in partnership with Joy Christian Center, Basildon, which was awarded as part of a community grant Scheme with the aim of involving the under-represented audience within the STEM fields in the British Science Week activities.

We organised a Science Careers Workshop tailored to the BME community within Basildon.
The event took place on Saturday 14th March from 10am – 4pm at the local James Hornsby School and was attended by about 30 pupils of BME background some of whom were accompanied by their parents.

The aim of the event was to introduce the BME community to the various Science career options available to them through positive imaging of STEM professionals from the BAME community. Eight speakers were invited spanning a selection of Science sectors and each gave a 20-30minutes talk on their field with time allowed for questions. Fields represented include Research, Pharmacy, Material Science, Maths, Medicine, Science communication and Science Journalism. Literature from a selection of science societies were donated for the day although due to the clash with the Big Bang Fair none could send representation.  

Success of the event was measured by attendance, engagement, quality of talk and attitude of attendees before and after the event.  

Some attendees interacting with Dr Nira Chamberlain
Overall the event was well received and pupils/parents remained engaged throughout the day asking lots of questions and interacting with the speakers. Feedback received after the event from both speakers and attendees was positive and the need for further STEM career awareness within this community has been identified. We hope to continue working with Science societies and other organisations to bridge this gap.
From the feedback received, the event has been evaluated to be successful with some improvements to be made with future events. Respondents requested for more of such workshops including other career areas that were not covered in this instance.  Understandably due to the time frame within the day we were limited to the number of talks. Others suggested including practical activities and we will consider a more hands on fair in future. The speakers were impressed with the turn out and engagement of the audience and found it inspiring to see so many young people interested in STEM. Considering the event run all day and the age range of the pupils (6 – 16yrs, not including parents) they were even more engaged after lunch which speaks well of the program layout although some would have preferred the talks to be shorter.

The event would not have been possible without the kind donation from the BSA our speakers and the various societies who donated literature for the day. We look forward to working together on future events in future.

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