For International Women’s Day I presented to this charming little girl’s Prep-school: Women in Science, heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow. I loved the way the school went out of its way to make a day out of it: the girls could dress up as scientists (even the science teacher was dressed as Florence Nightingale) and they collected donations for the Marie Curie Foundation at the entrance. It did worry me a little with all that preparation, it meant expectations were high. I started by asking how many were dreaming of working in STEMM, and to shout out their careers. All I got back was ‘doctor’, so I encouraged the girls to include many more careers, like physicist, engineer, inventor, pharmacist, astronaut. I told them the story of how Marie Curie almost didn’t win the Noble Prize; the Nobel Committee tried to leave her out because she was a woman, and only award her husband and another researcher involved in her studies, but Pierre, Marie Curie’s husband, refused to accept it unless his wife was included; other scientists supported him by writing to the committee. I also introduced the girls to Gitanjali Rao, a young 12 years-old scientist who won a prize for devising an economic and immediate test to spot lead contaminated water. It was so special to see all those excited faces looking at me and to show them how many opportunities STEMM can offer to women and girls. I would recommend to older students to connect with younger ones in order to share our experience of STEMM subjects; all younger school children hear of STEM is their curriculum, and knowing that teenagers are engaged in STEMM can show them a future path, possibilities and opportunities.
Interview with YSA Ambassador Professor Ben Garrod
Independent YSA participant Kyran wants to be a paleoanthropologist, who better to ask for advice than Professor Ben Garrod!