On the 26th June pupils from around the UK gathered at The Forum, Norwich, for an amazing evening complete with inspirational talks before many pupils collected their bronze, silver and gold awards presented by the amazing Lizzie Daly and Mark Thompson.
The evening began with a brilliant talk from Lizzie Daly, she covered her incredible career so far as well as her day to day experiences. She even introduced me to an incredible breed of frog I had no idea existed before, known as the Titicaca water frog. This especially inspired me as presenting science is something I’ve always wanted to do. Next, the many bronze award winners from schools all over Norfolk (and beyond) collected their awards.
The evening continued with stories from many different students sharing their positive experiences, including two pupils from Reepham High talking about how beneficial the award has been to them. After this gold award winner, Costanza, continued by talking about some of the many things she has done in order to collect her award. This included making an online forum and reaching out to many scientists to see what other opportunities she could create for herself. It was amazing hearing from someone who had completed their award. We gained ideas about opportunities we could all get involved with in the future – especially for those who are looking forward to participating in the silver or gold awards next year.
Next the pupils who had completed (in some cases) hundreds of hours of extra STEMM-related activities collected their silver awards, something I am excited to hopefully receive in the future. It was great seeing the amount of people completing such a big achievement.
After this we moved onto Mark Thompson’s talk, both his journey into science and the career changes he went through made me feel excited about the possibilities of STEMM careers in the future. It was especially amazing to see how you can get into a science career without necessarily having a science background, and to see just how far your initiative can take you by simply asking questions and taking opportunities. He also did an experiment that meant film capsules went flying into the air. It was so fun and definitely spiked an interest in many of the younger audience members sitting with their families.
Finally, the gold YSA participants collected their awards after so many hours of dedicated work. It was truly inspiring to hear about their diverse range of interests, and how they channeled this through the YSA award.
To conclude, the evening was a complete success and many students, including myself, were inspired by the incredible work and achievements of the people around us. It was so great to talk to fellow YSA winners about their experiences and meet the incredible scientists who presented our awards. I am so grateful for the opportunities that YSA has given me in the last year and I am thrilled to be able to continue my journey of STEMM exploration.