A free three-day residential course at Trinity College, Cambridge, which is designed to encourage young women to study science, technology, engineering, maths or medicine (STEMM), is set to become an annual event after interest and subscriptions ballooned.
The College will welcome 40 women from around the UK on 29 August, who will have the opportunity to learn about studying STEMM at the university, as well as the range of career options available. They will also be able to experience student life at Cambridge and the College.
The event will feature a series of taster lectures at Trinity and the Cavendish Laboratory, tours of the Sainsbury Laboratory and Cambridge Observatory and a ‘women in science’ film night. The programme will also feature contributions from Professor Judith Driscoll, Dr Yvette Perrott, Professor Marian Holness and Dr Joan Lasenby, who are all fellows of the college.
Professor Valerie Gibson, who heads the High Energy Physics Research Group at the Cavendish Laboratory and is the UK spokesperson for the LHCb experiment at CERN, believes that these outreach activities are necessary to engage young women who have already chosen to pursue science and those who have not, particularly in the first few years of secondary school. With this in mind the College plans to introduce a STEMM event for 11-to-13 year-old as part of its 2017 programme.
She said: “We have to expose girls early (years seven to eight) to the excitement of science and the career possibilities. We could also provide potential students with help and material that will prepare them for the transition between school and university, for example the Isaac Physics project.”
“Cambridge is a fantastic place to study the STEMM subjects, especially with the range of subjects available in Natural Science and Engineering. However, we need to do more to attract the brightest women who, given the opportunity, could ultimately have the most rewarding career in science.
Trinity admissions tutor professor Adrian Poole welcomed the rising interest in the event, but admitted that more needed to be done to encourage more women to study STEMM subjects.
He said: “This is Trinity’s first event aimed at women interested in STEMM subjects. Given its popularity and the need to encourage and enable more women to pursue science at university and in their careers, the College will make this an annual event.”
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