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Inspiring the next generation of engineers at STEM Live!

8 July 2016

Two students at the STEM Live! event

Cardiff University School of Engineering joined together with Academic Schools from across the University for the ‘STEM Live! Exploring Your Future’ event on Monday 27th June.

The event was organised by the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering and the College of Biological and Life Sciences, in partnership with St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College.

Some of the exciting Cardiff University research on show at the event included: the science behind 3D cinema; the Universe beyond the visible; how glaciers move;  targeting cancer treatment through computer modelling; using catalysis for a better world; decoding earth’s history using microfossils; and measuring heart function at work, rest and play.

Over 200 sixth formers and their teachers came from 12 schools from across South Wales to participate in a conference designed to showcase the diverse research being undertaken at Cardiff and to introduce them to the kinds of challenges they might get involved in if they choose to take up a career in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM).

Researchers and students from ten Academic Schools, as well as the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair, were on hand to explain and demonstrate the exciting research projects on show, giving students and their teachers the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities and workshops.

When asked what they had enjoyed most about the day, one student replied “everything”.

She added: “The workshops have been really interesting and it has also been useful to be able to speak with current undergraduates and find out more about university life and what the different courses entail.”

Mr Hughes, Assistant Head of Sixth form at St Joseph’s RC High School, described the event as a ‘unique opportunity’ for students to gain an insight into a wide range of STEM subjects, and commented that some had even been prompted to reconsider the STEM subject they will apply to study next year.

He went on to say: “Our students have been inspired and enthused by both the researchers’ and undergraduate students’ obvious passion for their subjects, and I feel that they are now in a much better position to make an informed decision about their future careers in STEM.”

Dr Fiona Wyllie, the lead organiser of the event said, “We wanted to expose sixth formers to the full breadth of  STEM courses and research on offer in the university, including subjects unfamiliar to them through their school curriculum””.

The sixth formers took part in a wide range of activities including designing and testing boats, investigating how researchers work with honey bees to identify new plant derived drugs which can be used to fight bacteria, designing structures which will survive earthquakes, discovering how an otter project greatly benefits ecological research, programming a Raspberry Pi and discovering the properties and possibilities of chemiluminescence.

This is the third STEM event organised by the University to show sixth form students the wide range of life changing research to which they could contribute, if they choose a career in the sciences, technology, engineering or maths.

The event is one of a number of initiatives run as part of the University’s School’s Partnership Project, which supports researchers’ direct engagement with students and helps bring contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning. The Partnership Project is funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK) as part of their School-University Partnerships Initiative.

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