ACR Journal

41 WOMEN IN ENGINEERING in STEM to shine as visible role models and inspires young people through fun, interactive online STEM sessions along the way. The academy participants take part in training and workshops to build their confidence on camera and their STEM delivery toolbox. These newly empowered role models then deliver a six-week programme of live STEM sessions designed to engage children aged five to nine. Schools and families benefit from this free programme by taking part in hands- on simple STEM activities to promote children’s curiosity, creativity and courage. I was one of the lucky few women selected to participate in the pilot scheme, which delivers all the required tools and resources over four months. The scheme is delivered free of charge thanks to its sponsors, with the only cost to the participants being their time and a small number of consumables such as Sellotape and Blu Tack. A total of 45 women from across three continents took part, and for the duration of the six-week live STEM sessions, each of these women engaged with 25 to 50 pupils. So in total, 1644 pupils joined the lessons from 37 different schools. It’s incredible and inspiring to know that this small group of women can achieve this kind of reach in such a short amount of time. As more pupils become engaged in the pilot scheme, and the greater the number of women in STEM become trained to be visible role models, it becomes clear the increased impact that we can have inspiring the next generation of STEM stars. Making a difference STEMazing, to put it simply, is a game- changer. It has gifted me the skills, confidence and resources to run hands-on STEM classes with primary school pupils, classes that are appealing, educational and most importantly of all, fun! I have been a registered STEM Ambassador for over a year and I have always taken part in activities within my comfort zone, like careers talks and the mentoring of older pupils (aged 16 to 19). However, STEMazing has taught me that to grow, I must move outside of my comfort zone and that as I grow, I am not the only person to benefit from my newfound skills and confidence. It has accelerated my development beyond what was achievable alone and helped me to become the role model I’ve always known I was but never had the confidence to be until now, that is. But it’s more than that; STEMazing has encouraged me to become an ambassador, not only of the STEMazing brand but as an industry leader for inclusion and diversity. As a result, I feel motivated and inspired to offer a helping hand to others within the RACHP industry and beyond, to accelerate their development and help them to become visible role models. Aside from the obvious benefits, STEMazing has grown my network, connecting me with female engineers within the RACHP sector across three continents and with engineers and support staff from other fields, widening my knowledge and understanding of careers in other areas of engineering. It has facilitated connections with primary schools within my local area and helped me forge a working relationship with these schools that will continue long after completing the programme. It has provided me with sharable content for social media that will help elevate my position as a role model and share the joy of STEM. And it’s enhanced my team working skills, showing us how to recognise the strengths each person offers and by supporting and encouraging each other when we lack confidence in our abilities. Shaping the future Every one of us can help shape the future of our industry and bring about the desired culture change. Suppose you’re passionate about engineering and RACHP, as well as the future of our children and grandchildren. In that case, I urge you not only to ask yourself how you can help elevate women within your business to become visible role models but also to encourage those around them to become allies, offering support and mentorships to accelerate their development. Encourage your teams to become STEM Ambassadors, bring engineering into the community, fill the gaps in our curriculums, and inspire our future innovators. And in future, when considering where to allocate your charitable funds, please consider sponsoring schemes such as STEMazing; I’m sure we can all agree just how invaluable they are. The culmination of these actions is a better future for all, a future in which you too may find the satisfaction and reward in inspiring the next generation of RACHP Stars! Lisa-Jayne Cook is a member and trustee of the Institute of Refrigeration, member of the Women’s Engineering Society, director of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board, a STEMazing Woman and a STEM ambassador. CMYK / .ai CMYK / .ai CMYK / .ai

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mzg1Mw==