STEM Ambassador Stories - Mikaela Thompson
Issued: Fri, 30 Aug 2019 12:59:00 BST
Why did you decide to become a STEM Ambassador?
I decided to become a STEM Ambassador as I was keen to spread the word about what career paths and opportunities STEM can offer. As someone who did not study Computing at High School and then became an IT Management for Business Graduate Apprentice, I was inspired to share my experience with young people who have interests in STEM subjects but did not know the career opportunities that STEM has to offer.
Which area of STEM are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about technology and the range of skills and expertise that you can gather from technology roles. I particularly aim to inspire young girls to consider opportunities in STEM as I have noticed there is a shortage of women in STEM across the industry. We need people with a range of backgrounds and experience to join technology as a diverse pool of talent is what technology thrives on.
What is your favourite thing about being a STEM Ambassador?
My favourite thing about being a STEM Ambassador is delivering a lesson to a group of students who have never tried coding or robotics, and then sparking an interest in them to pursue coding either through code clubs or experiment with Scratch for example at home. Getting an interest in technology and STEM subjects at a young age can completely change the path people follow, for example choosing to do an apprenticeship instead of college or university.
Describe your favourite or most memorable activity so far:
My most memorable activity was delivering a workshop to 700 female school students aged 10-14 years old at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) SmartSTEMs events about the core skills a technologist must have. The event inspired many of the pupils to consider their safety when using social media, taught the girls about logical processes through an interactive sandwich making challenge and then highlighted the importance of communication through a drawing task. The workshop was highly interactive and fun for the students whilst also teaching them valuable lessons they can use in their everyday lives, or make a career from.
What STEM Ambassador activities do you have planned for the future?
I plan to deliver more introduction to coding events to schools in my local area, as well as promoting STEM careers and apprenticeships through school career events and information evenings.
What advice would you give to new STEM Ambassadors?
I would advise new Ambassadors to jump in at the deep end and try events which may be outside their comfort zone, such as introduction to coding days, as you often do not require prior knowledge of the activities to help out.
Overall, enjoy yourself! When you enjoy yourself at an event, the audience notices and becomes more engaged in what you are teaching them.