Girls in STEM

Nationally female students are still significantly underrepresented in students graduating from Engineering, Technology, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science (see for example, table 12 in this HESA report).  It is envisaged that by providing girls with an opportunity to explore and have fun with STEM subjects at an impressionable age they will then be able to make informed decisions about their future study and career options.

With that aim, we recently ran our Girls in STEM day (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for the fourth consecutive year.  We welcomed 170 13 year old girls onto campus to inspire and encourage them in their STEM studies. 

The day was kicked off by an inspiring talk from Orla Murphy, the 2015 IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year. Orla is an audio engineer at Jaguar Land Rover and she told the attendees of her journey through education and how she decided on the STEM path that was right for her.

The focus for the rest of the day was on interactive workshops run by academics from each of the schools and departments in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. These covered a diverse range of topics including gravitational waves, biomedical engineering, building a bridge and robotics. The pupils were also taken on a tour of the university by one of our current student ambassadors.

For many of them it is their first visit to campus, meaning many went away with aspirations to study here in the future, as one student said, “today was very good and I would like to come here for uni.” Another student said, “the visit was really good and I enjoyed it a lot, today has been amazing!”

The feedback of the day was very positive with 96% of the girls rating the day “Excellent” or “Good” and 68% saying the day had made them more likely to study STEM subjects. We hope that these positive memories of STEM now will influence the girls when they get to make subject choices.

If you would like to know more about the outreach work the College of Engineering and Physical sciences does please visit our outreach page or contact the Interim College Outreach Officer, Naomi Green (n.c.green@bham.ac.uk).