UCL education resource encourages girls' uptake of STEM subjects at A-Levels
20 February 2019
An innovative UCL-led education resource, aimed at encouraging more girls to take up Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and broaden their future career pathways, has been launched.
The Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors web resource, developed by Professor Essi Viding (UCL Psychiatry), is a free online resource for GCSE-aged girls that explores career pathways, qualifications and useful communication skills, required to succeed in STEM related professions.
Through a series of video stories told by relatable female role models and teacher-created lesson plans, pupils can discover how STEM subjects can lead to exciting careers, highlighting the importance and value to studying these subject from GSCE through to A’level.
Although designed especially for female GCSE-aged students, these resources are available to all learners, free of charge.
“If we want to achieve trail blazing science, we need the best brains in the world to work on scientific problems,” said Professor Viding, the 2017 Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award recipient leading the project.
“Lack of diversity in academia is leading us to miss out on exceptional talent that could accelerate scientific discovery.”
According to research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, many girls start to lose interest in STEM subjects at A-levels. This is in part because of low confidence in their abilities and a concern about being in the minority of a male-dominated area.
“We hope to help close the gender gap by sharing the excitement of learning STEM subjects with inspiring female role models and providing materials on communication skills essential for obtaining study and employment opportunities,” added Professor Viding.
“The online resource will allow us to share our successful workshop content with those who could not attend and provide lesson-ready resources for teachers who may not have the necessary time to develop their own.”
Students and teachers can access the materials on the Rosalind Franklin STEM Ambassadors website, including curriculum-based lesson plans and supporting materials aimed at Years 10 and 11 on STEM Role Models.
The web resource is Professor Viding’s RoyalSociety Rosalind Franklin Award project to raise the profile of women in (STEM). Twenty Year 11 girls with promising futures from backgrounds currently underrepresented in STEM careers attended a two-day workshop at UCL in September 2018. Digital content created during the workshop formed the basis of the web resource.
E: h.killworth [at] ucl.ac.uk
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