On Friday 26 October I hosted a sleepover in the iCentre and called it STEM-A-Con. The event was modelled off the Geek-A-Thon event I hosted last year, but with a slight difference. Students were invited if they had shown an interested in STEM classes and activities throughout the year.
The girls arrived straight after school and spent a good couple of hours playing with various technologies, including: 3D Printing Pens and code-able robots. At 6pm five of my friends outside of school turned up to do a panel called “Women in STEM.” All students that were not invited to sleepover were invited to the panel, and I’m pleased to say that some took the opportunity.
In the panel, we discussed a variety of topics, including:
- How did you get your current job?
- What’s the funnest thing you’ve ever done in your job?
- What bias have you come across in your positions and how did you overcome them?
- Why is it important to you to have more women in STEM fields.
We then opened the panel to questions from the girls and I am so pleased to say that they asked brilliant, thoughtful, and insightful questions. I am so proud of our girls for how they received this information. After the panel and Q&A finished, my wonderful friends hung around to answer further questions from the girls and I was so pleased to see the connections being formed. Conversations around the panel lasted long after the guests left. In fact, when I returned to work on Monday, there was a beautiful email from one of the attendees, expressing her gratitude for the whole event, but also the panel.
Thank you to my amazing friends for giving up their Friday night to come and inspire my students, just as you inspire my daily. I strongly believe in the “if she can see it she can be it” movement, and I am so grateful that I get to play my small part in this through the help of my wonderful friends.
To the amazing girls that attended the sleepover – thank you for being open to new opportunities and for being excited about learning. Events like this are easy to put on for students that are as amazing as you.
Finally, to my incredible colleagues that supported this initiative, thank you! Thank you to Linda Clark, Suzanne Walker, and Emma Maya in particular – I couldn’t do what I do without your support. Thank you also to the iCentre Staff and Mount Alvernia College for saying yes to this event.