Aoife was voted the winner of the New Materials Zone in November 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to purchase a renewable energy demonstration kit and a renewable energy monitor for demonstrations and events.
In 2017 we ran seven zones. Three I’m an Engineer zones in February–March (Energy, Health, and Space), and four I’m a Scientist zones in November (Diagnosis, Energy, Food, and Fluorine).
Our key findings were:
- We have improved on engagement rates in IAS since previous years.
- We have been successful in using online engagement to reach students who are normally under-served by the sector.
- Taking part improves attitudes of scientists and engineers to public engagement.
- Taking part leaves most students feeling more positive about working in a STEM career.
After every event we ask the winning scientists to write a short post to be sent to all the students who took part in the zone. It’s the perfect way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks, thank all the students for voting for them, and talk about how they plan to use their €500 prize money.
If you’d like the chance to win funding to develop your own public engagement ideas, apply for the next I’m a Scientist Ireland at imascientist.ie/scientist-apply
If you’d like the chance to get funding to develop your own outreach ideas, apply for the next I’m a Scientist competition at imascientist.ie/scientist-apply
One of the long term goals of our projects is to reach more schools traditionally under-served by STEM outreach activities.
The Aspires project, from King’s College London has shown that science capital is a key factor in terms of students aspiring to science and STEM careers. Science capital refers to knowledge about science and how it works, interest, understanding, and contacts (knowing somebody who works in science).
After every event we ask the winning scientists to write a short blog to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them.
Let’s take a look at what the November Winners had to say…