STEM Ambassadors – the why, what and who of STEM engagement
STEM Ambassadors are volunteers with experience in a wide range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs and disciplines from across the UK. With more than 250 University of Manchester staff and student STEM Ambassadors, logging more than 4,000 hours of their time, the University is the biggest single organisational provider of STEM Ambassadors in Greater Manchester.
What do some of our current University STEM Ambassadors say about their experiences?
Dmitry Dereshev, research associate in the social sciences, “The STEM Ambassadors scheme amazed me with how flexible and well-organised it is. It gives ample opportunity to participate in-person and digitally, with pupils and teachers. I enjoy the chance to give something back to Manchester and seeing the spark of curiosity light up in the pupils eyes makes it all worth it!”
Sarah Crowther, research fellow in the natural sciences, “I became a STEM Ambassador after my PhD to show pupils that STEM subjects are interesting and exciting, and that scientists are ‘normal’ people like them. At that time there weren’t many other opportunities for me to get into public engagement, so this enabled me to engage with schools and pupils in the area.”
Why become a STEM Ambassador?
With a current shortage of STEM skills and an increase in STEM jobs, encouraging young people to become STEM professionals is essential for the economic future of the UK. Key motivations for becoming a STEM Ambassador highlighted by some our staff and students include:
- Increasing the Science Capital (knowledge, attitudes, skills and experiences) of pupils.
- Encouraging more young women and children from diverse backgrounds to view a future in STEM as accessible.
- Filling gaps in teachers’ knowledge concerning STEM higher education and careers.
- Developing experience and transferable skills for applying for STEM careers.
- Exploring the range of opportunities on offer and the freedom to create your own STEM Ambassador experience!
How does it work?
- The STEM Ambassador website and the Science and Industry Museum as the Greater Manchester STEM Ambassador hub offer free online training courses and advice.
- Activities can be remote such as supporting a class via email or Skype, setting a science challenge or producing online activities.
- You are expected to deliver a minimum of one activity every 12 months.
- You will never be expected to deliver an activity yourself and will have a teacher or facilitator with you at all times.
Where can I find out more?
Visit the STEM Ambassador website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And remember if you are student and want to have your volunteering hours count towards Stellify – then make sure you register your interest via the University Volunteering Hub.