On Friday the 18th of May, thirteen Year 10 students went on a trip to Bristol to experience the Tomorrow’s World conference run by Redmaids High school. It was a really fun and exciting event aimed to inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM subjects, and everyone who went on the trip would agree that we had an excellent time and learnt a huge amount.
The first thing on the agenda for the day was a talk by Dr Emily Grossman, an expert in molecular biology and genetics, as well as a science communicator and an honorary STEM ambassador with STEMNET. This was one of the highlights of the trip, we all felt moved by her story of how she struggled with being a female scientist in a very male-dominated area and were interested in the steps we all need to take to have a more inclusive and welcoming environment for female scientists.
After the speech by Dr Grossman we moved on to a variety of workshops on different topics focusing on STEM subjects. To start with we had an engaging workshop about microchips and how they are designed, manufactured and programmed. We all were surprised about how they were formed from sand and their microscopic size: only 16 nanometers! We then had a talk from Lizzie Hickey about machine learning and Dyson. This session introduced us to machine learning and even included an active demonstration involving showing how a machine learns to identify a cat. We then moved on to a workshop run by the University of Bristol about engineering and the huge array of jobs there are available to engineers. This was particularly fun as we even got the opportunity to dance with a robot!
After lunch, we had a facilitated panel discussion with Dr Zoe Bell, Dr Miriam Saldana Munoz and Dr Emily Grossman. This was a very good part of the conference and topics such as creativity in STEM subjects and the future of STEM subjects in the UK were all explored. We then ended with a special performance of Ada Ada Ada, a story about Ada Lovelace who wrote the first ever computer code and her journey. This performance even featured a dress with thousands of functioning LEDs which could be controlled by a glove worn by the actor, we all found this amazing but slightly startling!
Overall we had a great time at this conference and the amazing speakers and workshop leaders really opened our minds to the opportunities that there are available to girls considering a career in STEM subjects. We all felt motivated by the end of the conference, with the quote from Dr Grossman still fresh in our minds - “Say yes first, panic later”.
By Katie, 10D