5 Nov 15

Glasgow school girls get hands on with science in bid to inspire more to study STEM subjects

EDF Energy hosts event for 50 teenage girls at the Glasgow Science Centre as part of new programme to change their perceptions of STEM and inspire them to pursue careers in the field.

 This week, EDF Energy hosted a one day event for 50 local teenage girls at the Glasgow Science Centre. The event forms part of a long-term programme called ‘#PrettyCurious’ which aims to change teenage girls' perceptions of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and inspire them to pursue science-based careers.

Pupils aged 13 and 14 attended the event from schools in and around Glasgow, including: Woodfarm High School; Chryston High School; Greenwood Academy; Our Lady's High School and Wallace High School.

The session challenged the girls to work in groups to create a product for a life-size ‘smart’ bedroom using littleBits electronic kits and 3D printers. Girls worked in teams of two and three to invent the product and produce an advert demonstrating how it worked.

After presenting their inventions and accompanying adverts, all the students voted for their favourite.  The ‘Bright Sparks’ team from Chryston High School were named the winners for ‘Fantastic’, a temperature-controlled fan which turns itself on automatically if the room temperature reaches over 25°C.

Two #PrettyCurious role models were on hand to work with all the teams.  Cosmetic scientist Florence Adepoju and EDF Energy reactor chemistry engineer Beth Thomas provided the students with insight into what a career in STEM can entail, as well as supporting them throughout the ‘invention’ phase.

Graeme Rough, science faculty manager at Wallace High School in Stirling, said of the session: “The challenges the girls tackled during the #PrettyCurious event helped bring to life what they have been learning in the classroom and helped them really engage with the topic of a connected home.

It’s so important to ensure schoolchildren have an awareness of the incredible career opportunities available to them in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. Having both a nuclear reactor chemistry engineer and also a cosmetic scientist speaking at the event helped demonstrate the broad range of careers available.”

Cosmetic scientist Florence Adepoju said: “I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity of the girls at the Pretty Curious session in Glasgow. They developed some really innovative ideas for their smart home products using a combination of science, coding and engineering skills. As well as ‘Fantastic’, I also really liked ‘The Parent Trap’ proposal which used sensors to identify when parents were approaching the girl’s bedroom and simultaneously turned off their music and printed off homework so their parents thought they were hard at work – a cheeky but inspired idea!”

“I’ve managed to find a career in STEM which combines both my creative and more analytical, scientific skills. I would encourage all girls to look beyond traditional subjects when choosing a career – you might just discover the perfect job you didn’t even know existed.”

The Glasgow event is the second in a series of events which EDF Energy is currently piloting across the UK. The first event took place in London last month, with a third event due to take place in Bristol on the 25th November. For pupils unable to attend the sessions, workshops are also due to be held at EDF Energy’s nuclear power station visitor centres across the country at a later date.

For more information about the EDF Energy #PrettyCurious campaign, please visit: www.edfenergy.com/prettycurious

Notes to editors

The ‘#PrettyCurious’ programme introduces teenage girls to role models they can identify with, who each have varied and rewarding careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). These include:

  • Liz Bonnin: biochemist, wild animal biologist & TV presenter
  • Jenny Griffiths: computer scientist, founder & CEO of fashion app SNAP Fashion
  • Florence Adepoju: cosmetic scientist and founder of makeup brand MDMflow
  • EDF Energy’s own female employees including Bethany Thomas, a reactor chemistry engineer

EDF Energy in Scotland

In Scotland EDF Energy operates Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian which employ over 1,000 staff and around 500 contracting partners across the two power stations. EDF Energy employs a further 200 office based staff in East Kilbride.  As well as generating enough power to serve some 4 million homes the company also provides gas and electricity to over 80,000 Scottish customers with around half of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products which are backed by low-carbon generation. We operate two windfarms in the Scottish Borders and make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power up some of the largest organisations in the UK, including supplying almost all public sector bodies in Scotland with after being awarded Scotland’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume from April 2013. Following a landmark agreement with Network Rail the company also provides nuclear-backed Blue energy to power up the UKs electric rail network, covering most of the south east of England and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network.