Skirting Science was launched in 2009 and aims to address the gender imbalance in certain science careers. There are a great number of initiatives that tackle this issue and we in the WsM club have been proactive and have been involved in a practical way in order to help girls to make informed decisions about career choices. The project is very much hands on and gives the girls a chance to meet science role models and learn from their experiences. The students find out that scientists are normal people with interests similar to their own.
Skirting Science has involved Girls from year 9 from more than 17 participating schools in N Somerset have attended this project where they gain insight into science based careers in many different practical hands-on workshop sessions where scientists from both industry and educational institutions, showcase a selection of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) based career taster opportunities. Typically these workshops involve an experiment, a design and build activity, or group work activity; in fact anything provided the participants go away with a real, hands-on experience as what it’s like to be a scientist or work in a STEM related work place.
The girls come from lots of different schools and are chosen for their potential to progress to university and study a science subject; they really could be tomorrow’s scientists. The vast majority of the girls come away from Skirting Science having found out something new and positive about science and science careers:
‘The workshops have been fun and practical. They have shown me there are lots of opportunities and careers in science.’
‘Science is involved in everything and can be fun.’
‘Today has helped me to realise how important science is.’
Some are inspired to pursue science as a career:
‘I now want to have a career in science because I know more about it and I am more interested in it.’
‘Skirting Science has made me think more about science as a career path.’
‘I now know that science careers are open to lots of people and I think it is a lot more likely I will do something linked to science in the future.’
‘I didn’t realise there was so many jobs for women in science. Taking part has made me think about having a job in science.’
Skirting Science relies on the good-will of many people who volunteer their time, expertise and passion ; all of the presenters take time out of their busy professional lives to deliver workshops at the event, as well as those involved in the organisation, paperwork and execution of the project. This is in addition to all members of SI Weston-s-Mare who help, lead by Ruth and her team .
Skirting Science first took place at Hans Price Academy in Weston-Super-Mare and more recently at Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College with the last 2 years of this event at Churchill Academy. We appreciate the generosity of institutions such as these to donate so much of their resources to Skirting Science for free. For up to date information see the press release reporting the latest year’s 2018 As a spin off to Skirting Science, Sparking Science is a satellite initiative for younger students based upon the same ethos.