The STEM Challenge is now in its sixth year attracting more interest from the engineering world than previously. The challenge is for girls only in order to promote participation and raise aspirations in industries that young women often see as masculine and not for them.
This year the prizes were presented to the winners by HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Mr.Angus Campbell and Mr Andy Duff, from Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure.
Year 8 LEW winners from St Peters School produced a face visor, hand sanitiser and water purifier to fight the Ebola virus in Guinea with production elements sourced locally.
Year 8 Runners Up also from St Peters School produced a water tank for Tuvalu made of recycled water bottle bricks with filtration by using activated carbon charcoal made from coconut shell.
Year 9 ACW winners from Ringwood School produced a flat pack cot which is raised off the ground, stable on uneven surfaces and suitable for use with new babies to aged 3 years in developing countries.
Year 9 Runners Up from St Peters School produced a rope ferry made using local resources to transport people and goods across water in Malawi.
The Challenge was taken up by 32 teams of girls in Years 8 and 9 from 11 schools who were required to design, build and cost a project to help people in the poorest parts of the world. The end product had to be sustainable, fit for purpose and cost effective in a world where 884 million people lack access to clean water, 840,000 people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene related causes and every 20 seconds a child dies from a water related illness. The projects focused on areas such as the provision of clean water, shelter, improved sanitation, safer food, improved health, solar power and recycling.
All participants achieved the British Science CREST award which recognizes achievement in STEM based subjects and were sponsored by local companies Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure. The judging and awards ceremony was hosted by Bournemouth University in the new Fusion building, also providing refreshments for the girls and their supporters. Students from the University acted as STEM ambassadors and gave the girls a guided tour of the University. Ellis Jones Solicitors sponsored the prizes.
Judges were sponsored and supplied by Coty, Bournemouth Water, Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure, Bournemouth University, RNLI, AISH Technologies, Western Design Architects, Bournemouth Borough Council, Cobham Aviation, Cobham Mission Systems and Dan Storey Landscape Gardening and Soroptimist International.
The audience was treated to an inspiring presentation by Anna Hulme, Ambassador and volunteer for Engineers without Borders. Anna told the girls that Engineering is in all aspects of our lives and working in STEM fields will provide opportunities to be innovative in finding solutions to many of the world’s problems. Letters of support were received from Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Helen Sharman CMG OBE, Roma Agrawal and Past President of Soroptimist International gave a “live” message of encouragement.
Bournemouth Soroptimists hope that more girls will consider studying STEM subjects at GCSE, and ‘A’ level and go on to take a STEM based apprenticeship or study at University for a STEM based career because of the fun and interest raised by this Challenge.
SI Bournemouth members excelled themselves in their teamwork, liaising with teachers and Bournemouth University ensuring that the event ran smoothly and maximizing publicity for all stakeholders.