the STEMettes/ Bank of America Panel

The STEMettes have been working their wonders on women across the country for a few years: hosting Hackathons, innovation incubators and panel discussions for girls in STEM. The Bank of America invited hosted 75 little STEMettes for an afternoon of discussion, ideas sharing and- the obligatory cupcake.

IMG_3878The Bank of America is right next to St. Paul’s and one of those insane buildings you walk in to and think, “maybe I could put up with with being a banker”. The ceiling of the atrium is about the height of the entire physics department at Imperial College. It looked great decked out with ‘Girls in Great’ banners and screens: these guys know how to host!

I helped some little STEMettes/ Outbox incubator graduates with registration (which was the smoothest thing ever, a swipe to the left for an incoming body on an iPad)- and maoam/ nerdz consumption. After the last of the stragglers made their way to the auditorium, the panel were introduced: IMG_3893There was a Sri Lankan graduate engineer for Rolls Royce, the founder of a skincare company, an industrial designer/ engineer working for the NHS, an analyst at Bank of America, a data researcher at Bloomberg, a tech consultant at Accenture, an ethical hacker with Cyber Forensics and an Outbox Alumnae. They had all come to their careers from different places: from wanting to build three-shaft engineers the way we do in the UK from another continent, to trying to hide from their skills in maths to psychology and Arts A-levels. They’d changed careers, re-evaluated their dreams and super-charged their prospects. Anne-Marie, the head STEMette, chaired the panel exceptionally: she got the panelists to introduce themselves for 2 minutes, asked them a question and then opened to the floor for discussion. The girls (and parents!) took to their phones to ask questions online and they were posed to panelists. It had a great vibe. The panel celebrated creativity and fulfilling your dreams. The young audience were unclear what engineering was and non-STEM parents unsure of how to support their curious children. The panel emphasised that you did not need to be born brilliant, any of them could commit to learning STEM the skills they needed to go anywhere in the world.

I even met g4g London alumnae! Although that really accentuated the 29 % STEM aficionados stat of the IET’s 5 tribes study: science initiatives largely preach to the converted…

Over cupcakes we networked: although with the under 18s this involves exchanging instagram and twitter handles rather than business cards and collaboration promises. The audience were very good at quizzing the panelists just-that-little-bit-longer.

All-in-all: smashing event. I’m obviously a subscriber to the STEMette’s raison d’être and this was a brilliant showcase of that.

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