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Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers

19 June 2015

Chemistry students in lab

Sixth-form students swap classroom for laboratory at University STEM Conference

Over 400 students from St David's Catholic Sixth Form College will be shown the value of studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) today (19 June) as part of the University's annual STEM Conference.

Amongst the many talks, workshops and practical exhibitions being offered throughout the day, students will learn how to build a rocket, gain an insight into how maths can save lives and receive a demonstration on how Welsh honey is helping scientists to develop new antibiotics.   

The students will also be given detailed information about the range of career pathways in STEM areas, as well as guidance on how to apply for higher education. Throughout the day the students will interact with undergraduate and postgraduate students to get a general taste of what university life is like.

The STEM Conference is part of an ongoing partnership between the University and St David's College, and has been designed to give students a fresh perspective by taking them out of the classroom and into an environment where they can see the impact of science first-hand.

Activities on the day also include a guide to engineering, a lecture on what you can do with a Raspberry Pi, an exploration into how well an ammonite could swim, as well as a range of insights into chemistry, neuroscience, biosciences and physics.

Professor Karen Holford, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said: "Events like this bring science and technology to life. We want to inspire young people to engage with STEM subjects and working in partnership with institutions like St David's is a great way to do this."

Sue Diment, Schools Partnership Officer at Cardiff University, said: "Last year's STEM Conference was a great success and really demonstrated what can be achieved with effective partnership working. This year the event has grown to include more academic schools and research institutes from across the University. The event leads, Dr Chris North, Mrs Cherrie Summers and Dr Fiona Wylie, from the University, and Hilary Griffith from St David's College, have worked hard to develop the infrastructure and resources that will hopefully support the Conference to become a  key event in the University's annual school engagement programme."

Hilary Griffiths, Assistant Principal at St David's College, added: "This is the second STEM Conference that Cardiff University has hosted for our students who follow STEM subjects in the college.  Last year's conference was a most worthwhile experience for them and they left the event buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm. 

"They had been clearly motivated by the total experience of being involved in a variety of workshops, lectures and practicals but also being able to have conversations with postgraduates and lecturers who are experts in their field and who are carrying our cutting edge research. Our partnership with Cardiff University is extremely important to the college and grows from strength to strength.  We are very grateful for their support."