Cleo Whittingham is a freelance App Developer. Here, she talks about her experiences as a STEM Ambassador and why she chose to become involved.
How did you first become interested in STEM as a career?
I became interested in becoming an app developer about three years ago. I had an idea for an app but found it too expensive to pay a developer. The Corona Labs (the company who developed the software I use to develop apps) have a great community and support network for learning to code.
What pathway did you follow to get where you are?
Some developers have degrees in Computer Science but I learned to code via CoronaLabs. I have an MA in Screenwriting which is really what inspired me to learn to code. I wanted to use the smartphone platform for my short films and documentaries.
What inspires you about your work and/or about STEM?
The fact that I can have an idea, plan it out, and execute without having to get the OK from anyone is what inspires me in my work.
I think STEM is a great organisation that understands that schools need a boost in giving pupils that little bit of extra support in guiding and informing them of the potential careers and options available.
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
.I want to encourage young people to learn to code.
On average, how much time do you comitt to STEM Ambassador Activities?
So far I've taken part in a speed networking event and helped a teacher fill out a funding application for designing an app for the school.
Describe the latest activity you were involved in: What do you feel were the positive outcomes for the pupils?
The most recent activity was the speed networking event. I had to explain what it is that I do for a living and answer the pupils questions.The feedback from this activity was that the pupils enjoyed the event (there were seven other volunteers) which was very encouraging.
What do you feel were the positive outcomes for yourself?
My confidence has been boosted by taking part in this activity. Talking about myself and what I do, would not have ranked high on 'things I want to do' but I realise it is important to be able to do this without stressing out and worrying about people finding me boring.
Do you have any tips for future STEM Ambassadors?
Volunteer for as many activities as you can, it's rewarding and you're helping to inform and shape pupils view of work.