Women Like Me featured in Science in Public conference presentation

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UWE’s Women Like Me project, run by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs, was featured in a presentation about increasing visibility of minority groups at STEM events at the Science in Public conference today.

Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project aimed at boosting female representation in engineering.  The project pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to give them mentoring support as they start out in their engineering careers. In turn, junior women undertake engineering education outreach in schools and at public events in the Bristol and Bath area. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.

Science in Public 2018 was a conference “centred on the multiple ways that scholars have sought to intervene in, understand, talk about, and co-produce with, the natural sciences – whether from the perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS), Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Medical Sociology, the History of Science, Social and Cultural Theory, Science Journalism or some other intellectual inheritance”. It took place at the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.

“MI STEM – Improving the visibility of Minorities in STEM at science events” was authored by Laura Fogg Rogers and Laura Hobbs and presented by Laura Fogg Rogers, as part of the Communication, Education and Engagement strand of the conference.

Applications for community projects to access Engineering in the Community support

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Would you like a nature or rain garden area for your school? Do you need technology ideas for citizen groups?  Do you need help with structural or civil issues on your site? Read on to find out how you could access support from UWE Bristol students, in this guest post from Dr Corra Boushel.

The Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol is launching a new module called Engineering in the Community. This Group Project Challenge aims to set some real-world challenges for the engineering students on our Postgraduate Diploma course. The students will work in groups to come up with a design solution to a community problem, and may even make a prototype.

We are now looking for  community, voluntary and social enterprise sectors, and small businesses with problems to solve. Would you like a nature or rain garden area for your school? Do you need technology ideas for citizen groups?  Do you need help with structural or civil issues on your site? As part of their Group Project Challenge students will work with your community group to design an engineering solution to your problem.

The deadline for submitting your project is Monday 10th December. Projects will run February – July 2019.

Download the briefing note and application form for more information, and send to laura.foggrogers@uwe.ac.uk.

Children as Engineers highly commended at STEM Inspiration Awards

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A UWE team have been at the House of Lords in London today, after they were shortlisted for an Inspirational STEM Engagement Project Award in the 2018 STEM Inspiration Awards.

Laura Fogg-Rogers ran Children as Engineers, a collaboration between the UWE Bristol Department of Education and Childhood and Department of Engineering, Design and Mathematics, with Juliet Edmonds and Dr Fay Lewis.

The team attended the awards ceremony and were highly commended for the project, which paired student engineers and pre-service teachers to undertake engineering design challenges in primary schools; a well deserved recognition of their hard work and dedication.

Community projects wanted for new module – Engineering in the Community

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The Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol is launching a new module called Engineering in the Community. This Group Project Challenge aims to set some real-world challenges for the engineering students on our Postgraduate Diploma course. The students will work in groups to come up with a design solution to a community problem, and may even make a prototype.

We are now looking for community groups with problems to solve. Would you like a nature or rain garden area for your school? Do you need technology ideas for citizen groups?  Do you need help with structural or civil issues on your site?

Get in touch to see if you could be one of our community partners. As part of their Group Project Challenge students will work with your community group to design an engineering solution to your problem. Contact laura.foggrogers@uwe.ac.uk to register your interest.

Women’s Engineering Society – Industry mentoring for final-year students 2018-19

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Women’s Engineering Society

Industry mentoring for final-year students 2018-19

Places are now available for final year female students in Engineering and related disciplines to receive mentoring from professionals in industry.

If you are planning to take up employment after you graduate, you can apply to be supported by an external mentor who will guide you in considering your options and help you make a successful transition from University to work.

There is no cost to participate in the scheme but places are limited.  To register your interest, please contact laura.foggrogers@uwe.ac.uk  by 5th November.  Successful applicants must be available to attend an induction session on Thursday 22nd November 5-7pm.

Mentoring is provided through the Women’s Engineering Society and is funded by a grant from the Arconic Foundation.

Women Like Me launch event – becoming a leader in engineering

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Women Like Me has officially launched!

On 18th October we brought together our female engineers from around the Bristol and Bath region, who will be either mentoring other engineers, or undertaking outreach and public engagement activities with schools and communities to raise uptake and retention of women in engineering, and inspire the next generation.

It was a busy and rewarding day, and this is what we got up to.

Welcome Training – Becoming a Leader in Engineering

We started the day by welcoming our junior engineers, who joined us from a range of companies in the Bristol and Bath region. After introductions to each other and the scheme by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, our first training session, delivered by Dr Laura Hobbs focused on STEM outreach, public engagement and working with schools. What is it, why do we do it and how do we go about it?


We then facilitated STEM Ambassador registration for our volunteers, and get together for an exchange of outreach ideas. Our senior engineers, who will be mentoring our junior engineers, joined us at lunch time ready for a packed afternoon. After meeting each other, mentors and mentees received an introduction to role modelling from Laura Fogg Rogers, followed by a session on mentoring for women by UWE’s Dr Harriet Short.



Participants brought with them something that represents what mentoring means to them, with lots of discussion to be had.









The engineer training closed with bespoke training on Leadership in Engineering from Wide Eyed Group‘s Caroline Morris, looking at the role of leaders, and how our leadership style can be used to encourage and influence others. We explored what it takes to be vulnerable and true to yourself, and how your unique qualities help your own leadership style.

Professionals from across the region then met to discuss science education, outreach, women in STEM and more, with the opportunity to receive free People Like Me taster training from WISE‘s Sarah Behenna.

If you have any questions about Curiosity Connections – Women Like Me or would like to support the project, please get in touch at engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk.

Women Like Me and Leaders Award represented at First Friday Club

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On Friday 5th October 2018, UWE Bristol project Women Like Me and the Leaders Award supported by UWE Bristol were presented to leading media editors at the First Friday Club meeting in London.

Presenting to the editors’ briefing, Chris Rochester, UK Director, Primary Engineer said: “In 2017/18 academic year we continued to develop our programmes across the UK which included working with 988 schools, 3,833 teachers and 1,325 engineers. Each one getting involved and helping nearly 57,000 children to understand that engineering is a broad profession with myriad opportunities. It emphasises engineering is a diverse sector which thrives on ingenuity and creativity of the professionals working within it”.

In the South West, the Leaders Award is supported by Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S), the MOD’s procurement organisation, along with UWE Bristol.

Air Marshal Julian Young, Chief of Materiel Air, and who is the Ministry of Defence’s Engineering Champion and lead Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador for DE&S, said: “I am delighted that the Defence Sector is rising to the challenge of increasing its diversity in our Engineering profession, whether that is cultural, gender or nationality, and we are working closely with a range of STEM-related organizations, including Primary Engineer, to help to encourage young women and girls to not only express an interest in Engineering, but to follow that through into a career and a successful one at that!”

Two female engineers from Defence, Equipment and Support also gave accounts of their personal journeys into engineering. May Holmes started her career as a primary teacher – unaware there was more than one kind of engineering aside from civil engineering – before joining DE&S as a mechanical engineer.  She said: “Not all young people are lucky enough to be introduced to and experience STEM, which can be to the detriment of younger generations reaching their full potential as well as to STEM professions – particularly with current and predicted future skills shortages in STEM roles. 

“Through programmes such as Primary Engineer, I enjoy challenging young people’s perception of what Engineering is, who an Engineer is, and encouraging all young people that it can, in fact, be for everyone.”   

UWE Bristol are supporting the South West Leaders Awards and hosting the winners’ Awards Ceremony. A team of female student engineers from the UWE Women in Science and Engineering Society will build the winning design from 2018. Alongside this, UWE Bristol is galvanising support from local industries through their Women Like Me mentoring programme, where local female engineers will work with schools over the coming year.

Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, who is the project lead and a science communication researcher at UWE Bristol, said: “Engineers are highly creative people who can help to solve many of society’s problems. It’s a really collaborative profession, where you have to work together in teams to see your visions and designs come to fruition. The range of roles and careers is really diverse, and that’s what we’d like to emphasise to all young people, particularly girls. You can make your own mark in engineering!”

Edited from a press release by Neil Fullbrook, Cadence neil@thecadenceteam.com

Registration open for the ASE West of England conference

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Annual Association for Science Education West of England conference

Bath Spa University

Saturday 17th November, 09:00 – 13:30.

This conference includes a workshop, ‘Working with science communicators & STEM Ambassadors’ from Laura Fogg Rogers (UWE Bristol) and our collaborator on Women Like Me, Liz Lister (Graphic Science).

Please see below for the programme outline, and the conference website for further information and to register.


9:00-9:30      Registration, refreshments & browse stands

9:30-9:45      Welcome & PSQM Awards

9:45-10:30    Keynote Professor Harry Mellor, Professor of Biochemistry 

10:35-11:30   Workshop A Choice

11:30-12:10   Break & browse exhibition stands

12:10-13:05   Workshop B Choice

13:10-13:30   ASE Regional ABM

Keynote Professor Harry Mellor, Professor of Biochemistry  Teaching height:  the biology and sociology of cell growth

The biology of human growth offers a rich context to teach key aspects of cell biology.  The visible outcome – height – has an immediacy to students across primary to secondary school ages.  This engages students, but also requires care in maintaining an inclusive teaching environment.  Societal attitudes to height, and especially to height and gender, present an opportunity to explore wider themes, and to explore the interface between biology and sociology.

Workshop A choices

A1 Primary:

Kids against plastic

Liz Southwell, St Barnabas Primary @MrsSLearns

Come and find out about the work of Amy and Ella Meek, who founded ‘Kids Against Plastic’ and who are passionate about inspiring young people to lead their schools and communities to becoming ‘Plastic Clever’. This session is based on the Kids Against Plastic ethos and principles, and uses their newly published learning resources, to consider how schools can become more ‘plastic clever’ and how this exciting new charity can become the focus and inspiration for science enquiry and investigation.

A2 Primary:

STEM in action: Scribble-bots

Pauline Rodger, Holt Primary

This workshop offers the opportunity to build and test a scribble-bot (simple robot). Ideas of how to embed this into a sequence of work and engage children with making predictions, testing ideas, problem-solving and controlling outcomes will be shared. Aimed mainly at KS2 but can be further developed and equally engaging for KS3.

A3: Cross phase:

Thinking Science

Ellie Hart, Bristol University

A practical session introducing techniques for philosophical discussion in primary and secondary classrooms. Boost your students’ critical thinking, questioning and argumentation skills and find out about a resource recently developed by philosophers and science teachers that can be used to support discussion and consolidate core curriculum understanding.

A4: Secondary:

Time to reflect on the reformed Science GCSEs

Sarah Old, Ofqual

Now that the reformed Science GCSEs have had their first award and teachers are preparing their second cohort of students for the examinations, come and hear from Sarah Old, Senior Manager in the Standards Team at Ofqual. It will also be an opportunity for you to share your experiences of the new curriculum and the first set of assessments.

A5: Secondary:

Leading a successful secondary science department

Greg Seal, Abbeywood School @gregtheseal

and Helen Rogerson, Westonbirt School @hrogerson


Workshop B choices 

B1 Primary

TAPS: from Focused Assessment to whole school approach

Dr Sarah Earle, Bath Spa University @PriSciEarle

The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project, now in its 6th year, has found that classroom Focused Assessment activities help start whole school development.  This workshop will explore a range of practical activities to support the assessment of Working Scientifically, before considering how subject leaders can cascade this approach across the school.

B2 Primary

Ditch the dirt

Bren Hellier, Practical Action @PA_Schools

Join Practical Action for a hands on workshop investigating ways of cleaning dirty water through filtering linked to the charities project work in Kenya.

B3 Cross phase

Working with science communicators & STEM Ambassadors

Laura Fogg-Rogers, University of the West of England @LauraFoggRogers

and Liz Lister, Graphic Science STEM Ambassador Hub @scarycurlgirl

Curiosity Connections Bristol is a new network to connect science teachers and science communicators working in the Bristol region. So how should science teachers best work with industry and external science enthusiasts both in and out of the classroom? This session outlines the resources available to support teachers in this area.

B4: Secondary:

Biology from the farm

Debbie Hicks, LEAF Education

Food security, conservation, biodiversity, plant and animal diseases, farming techniques.  These topics now have a high profile both in the media and in the new GCSE Biology specifications.  Join this workshop to bring your knowledge up to date and explore ways of bringing these topics to life with your classes.

B5: Secondary:

Language and literacy demands of secondary science

Amanda Fleck, Assistant Headteacher @AJTF71

Science is rich in complex language and this can be a barrier for many students at secondary school. Readability statistics show that new 9-1 science GCSEs have some of the highest readability scores of any of the current GCSEs. This session explores the implications of the language and literacy demands of science and discusses practical strategies to support teachers to help their students overcome these barriers.

Making STEM for everyone – a new practitioner resource

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Would you like to help girls engage with Physics? Or  make sure your science engagement is inclusive? May you’d just like to know how strong your unconscious bias is?

The Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol has published a new practitioner guide which can point you to the resources to help with this, and more.

Making STEM for everyone: Resources for supporting people from under-represented groups to engage with Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering is a compilation of useful online tests, guides and materials written by Dr Laura Hobbs and Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, who also run Engineering Our Future project Women Like Me.

Drawing on a range of project outputs, industry schemes, toolkits and reports from across the STEM landscape, the guide provides a compilation of information and resources to assist anyone wishing to reach people who may face barriers to engaging with STEM subjects.

The contents of the guide are:

General information on under-represented groups in STEM and what influences participation in STEM

Science capital
Understanding the term ‘science capital’ and its application

Diversity in science, positive role models and case studies
Examples of people from under-represented groups in STEM, and resources to support the concept of ‘STEM for all’

What could a STEM career look like?
Examples of roles using STEM

Engineering in a different light
Engineering might not be what you think it is…

Inclusion in the classroom
Inclusive STEM teaching support

Breaking the mould
Challenges to stereotypes in popular culture

Encouraging people into STEM
Resources to support interests in STEM

If you’re interested in more expert guidance, check the Science Communication Unit website for a full list of available practitioner guides.

Practical steps to build science capital in the classroom

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How much do you value STEM?

That will depend on your “science capital”, that is, how much science you’ve been exposed to. Science capital is based on the idea of social capital – that all of us have differing amounts of cultural beliefs, values, qualification and experiences, which we gather from our families and lives, and determine our value in careers and social situations – in relation to science.

Many children will have no knowledge of adults who work or have worked in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers, which gives them very little science capital. This can have a significant impact on children’s aspirations regarding STEM careers, and so increasing children’s science capital is vital to broadening their future career choices.

Capital Gains

Juliet Edmonds, Fay Lewis and Laura Fogg-Rogers, from the Department of Education and Childhood and the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol, are hoping to change the status quo and increase children’s science capital through initiatives in schools. Their new article in the September/October 2018 issue of Primary Science magazine, Practical steps to building science capital in the primary classroom, addresses this from the school perspective, which includes inviting STEM practitioners into their classrooms. There are many ways in which engineers can boost children’s science capital:

  • Go into schools

A survey at a recent children’s conference revealed that children weren’t just interested in the work of people in STEM, but also by their personal experiences of working in STEM. Therefore, visiting a school and sharing what kind of person you are, and the key qualities required for your job, helps children (especially girls) to identify with their role models.

  • Activities with Real-Life Context

Doing STEM activities that focus on making the world a better place, has been show to raise children’s interest and improve attitudes towards science. So why not try engineering challenges? – such as the EU ‘Engineer’ project challenges or borrow the Design Process Box free from Dyson.

Or maybe explore aspects of science and scientists that benefit the quality of everyday life, e.g. the grip on training shoes relative to forces, or the work of Professor Margaret Boden on artificial intelligence (the BBC Radio 4 series The Life Scientific is useful for biographies of modern scientists).

  • A Culture of Science – in School and at Home

Children’s attitudes towards STEM are partially formed through the culture they experience at home, but experiences in schools are also thought to influence a child’s attitude to STEM. While none of these actions alone will compensate children for low science capital, many scientists and engineers still recall a special role model who got them into STEM – you could be that person!

A version of this blog for teachers was posted by Louisa Cockbill on the Curiosity Connections blog.

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