Sometimes incredible things happen. The ‘SEO scholars’ program sponsors educational opportunity for underprivileged and under-represented backgrounds, supporting students through GCSEs and A-Levels, helping them write personal statements and mentoring them through university degrees. SEO Scholars pop-up all over Imperial, first in visiting tour groups then having secured a place on one of the undergraduate programs. To be part of the course you apply by yourself and cross London to visit universities and businesses. These students weren’t hadn’t science on a plate, they had to go and get it. Today 50 Year 12s came in to Imperial College during half-term to hear about all things ‘STEM’, what it’s like being a girl in a male dominated field and plastic electronics (of course!). I recruited a cohort of physics students to talk about their favourite parts of Imperial, the best parts of physics and their future career plans. I was buzzing. I thought I’d maybe lost my touch, got a massive case of shakey-voice, I’m going to cry, but it was totally fine.
I spoke after Jane Marshall, Director of Widening Participation at Imperial, who spoke unaided at a-million-miles an hour for an hour about personal statements. Her talk is available online for free, here:
I think I did an okay job of convincing them physics was the way forward: the feedback was overwhelming. The majority of students drop physics after GCSE and the demographic here was no different- but every single one of them wanted to study physics at the end. There were specific questions on the potentials of smart robots taking our jobs, broad questions about applying to university and a lot of ‘you’re so cute!’. A group of girls came up to me and asked what they could do: they’d dropped physics, but how could they go on studying it? This group were committed, curious, creative- they are going to do great things. We need to help them earlier and encourage them to keep as many doors open as possible.
— Annalisa Alexander (@01Annalisa) February 19, 2016