Today marks an important date in the international calendar: the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The United Nations General Assembly declared 11th February this day in 2015, in order to drive support and advocacy in the global community for inspiring and engaging women and girls in this critical field.
STEM is a fundamental part of the Westbourne curriculum for pupils of all ages. Our pupils are introduced to the core principles of STEM early in their education, learning the basics of programming from as early at Year 3 and benefiting from a weekly STEM afternoon throughout their time in Prep School. A number of our students choose to follow STEM degrees at university and further on in their professional and academic careers. We remain committed to supporting equality and balance in STEM learning.
This week, girls from across our Prep and Senior Schools took part in a variety of learning and discovery activities focused on science and STEM.
In the Senior School, Maisie, Rochelle, Noemie and Taonga have taken part in a series of podcast interviews with prominent women in STEM through a partnership with Untapped Innovation, which supports girls in STEM learning.
Rochelle and Maisie spoke with Sharon Strugnell, a civil engineer who has always been curious about how things work and who set out to use her skills in engineering to make a difference. Noemie and Taonga spoke with Tolulope Ogunremi, founder of the award-winning organisation, Coders of Colour, which aims to support under-represented people of colour break into the technology industry, providing them with an opportunity to experiment with coding in a safe and accessible space. You can listen to the insightful conversations here.
In the Prep School, we welcomed Tim Hawkins, Managing Director at Markes International, a global firm that develops and manufactures scientific instruments for thermal desorption. Markes is proud of the gender equality of its workforce. The pupils enjoyed learning about what the company does and why, and the technology behind its most successful innovations.
Year 5 enjoyed a medicine and engineering workshop this week with a visit from Dr Fiona Porter-Smith and Helen Jenkins. Fiona is a GP and Helen is a civil engineer specialising in transport. The children investigated the strength and suitability of materials such as paper, dried spaghetti and eggs, looking at their material properties like tension, compression and torsion. They learned about what the job of a GP entails, and talked about the role of scientists in designing the equipment that doctors use day-to-day.