For the last three years, we have organised a STEM Challenge, designed to encourage more girls aged 12 – 14 to follow careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by developing the skills they will need. The teams find potential solutions to a problem, select the best, work through the detail and present their results in writing and orally to an imposing panel of judges. The competition takes 6 months to organise in conjunction with members of SI Weybridge and SI Woking.
The 2019 Final and Prizegiving was hosted by Royal Holloway, University of London. Helen Bowcock PhD OBE, Chair of Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey and Sussex , gave the keynote speech and presented the awards. This year, 15 teams in years 8 and 9 from Hoe Valley School, Tomlinscote School, Guildford County School, Ashcombe School and Thamesmead School entered projects ranging from sustainable water filters to high energy food bars. The entries were judged by women leaders in engineering, science and technology, who emphasised how difficult it had been to choose the winners.
Every girl who takes part receives a Soroptimist International certificate of achievement. The winning schools each receive £250 and each girl in the winning teams £30.
Our support for this project links into Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industralisation and foster innovation. It also corresponds to the overall Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating poverty.