“The way I think about it is basically you’re training up your replacements for the future” - STEM Ambassador David McDove engineers confidence in a new generation

Issued: Fri, 27 May 2016 16:50:00 BST

While looking through some old papers David McDove came across a description one of his first school visit from 1997: “I was quite nervous as I didn’t know what the school wanted or what I was going to be expected to do” - a common concern for any new Ambassador.

Yet fast forward 19 years and David now has hundreds of STEM Ambassador activities under his belt and is today attending his umpteenth K’Nex Challenge judging the area final at South Lanarkshire College.

David’s career as an engineer has been intrinsically connected to his work as a STEM Ambassador and both have brought him plaudits and awards for the great work he has done in his sector and his work with Scotland’s young people.

He and some colleagues set up a number paths improvement projects which involved local schools helping to design walkways within their local community. The concept garnered  them a 2014 envirnonmnet award from North Lanarkshire Council, a Bronze Cosla Award and high commendation at the Scottish Transport Awards.

“In one of the projects involving the widening of a masonary bridge, the community council and the children decided the colours of the replacement stones, the texture of the stones, ae and the bonding (laying) pattern. So as well as letting the children be civil engineers and seeing how it all works, they could ask questions and it gave the kids a sense that ‘I can make a difference in my community, we did this’ and trying to instil the idea of looking after their local area”.

Not content to merely win awards while engaging schools David is also a 15 year stalwart of the K’Nex Challenge, which he judges each year. His background as a former civil engineer is perfectly suited to judge the design or operation and function of the models build by the young competitors.

As an active STEM Ambassador David is aware of the impact that he can have on the futures of the young people he mentors. He said:

“The way I think about it is basically you’re training up your replacements for the future. I went out to Eastmuir Primary in 2001 and when I returned the next year the kids had remembered me and gave me a cheer. It was a brilliant feeling and really sticks in my mind as one of my best moments as an Ambassador”.

If you would like to become a STEM Ambassador please contact us at Science Connects for more info.

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