Did you know that W5 coordinates the STEM Ambassador Hub in Northern Ireland? We manage a database of over 1,300 professionals with STEM skills who have volunteered to promote science, technology, engineering and maths in local schools.
The STEM Ambassador Programme is a UK-wide initiative and free of charge service to schools and youth groups, which aims to encourage young people to have an interest in studying and following a career in STEM subjects. STEM Ambassadors not only have the opportunity to enrich and enhance the learning experience for young people, but individuals who volunteer as STEM Ambassadors can also develop new skills and gain increased work satisfaction.
Alyson Kerr is just one of our fantastic volunteers on the STEM Ambassador Programme. We caught up with Alyson to find out about her own experience as a STEM Ambassador.
Community Fundraiser for local cancer charity & former Demonstrator at W5
"I once met Hilary Clinton in the White House as part of a cross community project."
Why did you become a STEM Ambassador?
"While working at W5 I became aware of the skills shortfall in some STEM industries in NI. I could see that schools were doing their best to promote the subjects but having a STEM Ambassador in the classroom made the subject much more relatable. When pupils were given the opportunity to actually engage with people in these settings they were able to ask question and really find out what the job was about. I was able to see pupils who had previously not considered STEM as an option change their mind and begin to pursue it. It was all because they had a first-hand account!"
What is your favourite thing about being an Ambassador?
"I really enjoy working with pupils of all ages, I don’t get to do it much in my current role. Being able to answer their questions, no matter how in depth, and if I get the opportunity to inspire them. That is my favourite part."
What does STEM mean to you?
"To me, STEM means the future. Society is becoming so technologically advanced that we will all need to engage in some way with STEM subjects."
Who is your favourite scientist and why?
"Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She is a local scientist from the Armagh area and she discovered the first Pulsar Star. She lived at a time where there were very few female role models in Astrophysics and she has been very supportive of other women in the industry."
Our STEM Ambassadors play an essential role in inspiring and engaging the next generation of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians and technologists. If you would like to register as a STEM Ambassador or find out more about the programme click here