I became a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ambassador back in 2018 and have tried to volunteer at at least one event a year. Earlier this week I was a judge at a STEM which saw various different high schools work on a project for 10 weeks. The schools had two project briefs to choose from, they could have worked on something that solved an issue with smart technology, or they could have worked on a problem caused by climate change to our buildings etc.
The young people working on the project were 12 or 13 years old and were supported by a teacher from their school and also an external mentor during the 10 week project.
The day I got involved was the end of the 10 week project, where the young people had to present their project in the form of a verbal presentation, written presentation, a display board and model. They then got 15 minutes with the judges to deliver their presentation, show off the model and answer any questions.
I have to say I was really impressed by the young people's enthusiasm for the project and the quality of the presentations and models. For a lot of these young people doing anything like this was their first time doing anything like this, so it's a massive achievement for them.
The event I was involved in was also part of the Industrial Cadets programme, so each of the young people will get a Bronze Award from their participation in this project, something they can list on their CV or university application.
I personally really enjoyed being able to volunteer my time to the event, so thank you to my employer Microsoft for supporting me on this venture. I enjoyed getting to see what the next generation think, how they think and what their career interests are. It also sparked my imagination on things I can work on to try and engage and encourage more young people to follow me into the computing side of STEM.
Please do take the time to find out more about the STEM Ambassador program and sign up to become one.