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08 May 2014
Heolddu Comprehensive School pupils taking part in a club run by The Prince’s Trust have improved their scientific knowledge thanks to a funding boost from global music artist and philanthropist, will.i.am, and support from the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute at Cardiff University.
The Institute created a seven week project for pupils taking part in the Prince’s Trust’s xl club at the School, that saw the year 10 pupils take an interactive approach to finding out about cancer, culminating in using artwork to represent what they’d learnt.
The youth charity’s xl clubs are run in schools across the
UK to support pupils at risk of underachieving or truanting, helping them to
re-engage with their education. Thanks to a generous £500,000 funding boost
from will.i.am, the clubs are inspiring and engaging young people with STEM
(science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects, building skills that
are vital for the jobs market.
Working with the Institute’s scientists and local artist
Phil Lambert, the students explored topics such as DNA, and the disease itself
and participated in workshops about healthy eating and careers in scientific
The conclusion of the project, entitled ‘Recycled Science
Meets Art - cancer stem cell research inspired artworks’ saw them exhibit their
artwork, which was created using totally recycled materials from the
Institute’s laboratory, in the University’s new £30M Haydn Ellis building. The
exhibition also helped the students to improve their communication skills and
raise their confidence, which resulted in one student saying, "I realised that
I could actually do this".
Dr Karen Reed from the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute,
one of the coordinators of the project said:- "This really has ticked all the
boxes for the students who have taken part. Using artwork to explain science
has not only brought the subject to life but has inspired them in more ways
than they thought possible. The students have totally exceeded my expectations
and to hear them come out with such positive comments makes it all completely
worthwhile. We may even have some budding scientists in the making."
Geraldine O’ Sullivan, xl Manager for Wales, added:
"The group members have become really interested in science and the
opportunities it has to offer them as a direct result of this project. I was
hugely impressed with the groups’ presentation skills, their knowledge and
their infectious enthusiasm. One pupil described it as the most fun they had
ever had in a school uniform! I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank
you to will.i.am for funding this STEM initiative and to the European Cancer
Stem Cell Research Institute at Cardiff University for designing such an
engaging programme of activity for the group."
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