Grace Hopper Competition #SpreadTheSTEM
For those of you that aren't aware, this post is an entry for a competition.
Some of you may know,and others may not but I am interested in computing and I am currently doing my A-levels (Maths, Further Maths and Computing) in order to study a degree in Computer Science starting later this year. As someone who is genuinely interested in what they were studying I ventured out to find things outside school I can get involved in. I stumbled across a mentoring programme by the STEMettes, and have been part of it for a few months now. Basically, I was paired with a women in STEM from Deutche Bank who has taken me under her wing in all things STEM. Because of this I am able to enter a competition allowing me to go to the Grace Hopper Celebration later this year in America, a celebration for female technologists and the world's largest gathering of females in computing. I would LOVE to go, it's always been an event I knew about about from my internet searches but never thought I could attend up until now so hopefully my entry to the competition gets me through.
How do you get your network involved with STEM? In school, I am currently a STEM leader who promotes STEM whether that be through hosting events, organising events or even tweeting on the school's twitter account.
Some things we've done throughout the year include host international delegates from various countries or other guests, start the This Girl Can Campaign, talk to the school during assembly about STEM related topics, organise STEM days for all year groups, launch an edition of our magazine and even talk for the Mayor's Education Conference video.
We share STEM thoughts and ideas, but moreover a passion for STEM through a voluntary role in our community.
I creating a poster to get people to download the STEMettes app.
Currently, we are off for exams, but are looking to organise a second Women In Engineering Event as last year's was a success. Women and Engineering are two words not often associated with each other, so our hope is to not just inform girls about the vast types of engineering there is but to actually have external speakers that come in and speak to students about their experiences in STEM. We hope to celebrate this on the actual date 23rd June, make sure to stay posted about what happens then.
So why get involved with the programme?
First reason is because the knowledge you gain. I was actually reluctant to join and didn't really have much expectation for the scheme, but having gone through it I feel much more prepared for the future in my industry.
Chloe (My Sherpa) has opened my eyes to careers other than being a software developer. She took the time out to find several job descriptions that suit me and has answered numerous questions as to what things are actually like once you leave university. She's given me information on what companies I can apply to for internships and work experience, introduced the concept of a spring week, helped build my CV, given me tips on my professional online profile ( set up due to her inspiration) and networking and even advised me with A-levels. Having someone that has experienced things similar to you, if not exactly as you have, explain things and guide you through choices is much better than reading it off the internet or hearing it off someone you don't know as experience is the best teacher after all.
I'll encourage every young person to find a mentor, and if you're a girl that's interested in STEM to sign up to the STS programme. Whether you're like me and know exactly what you want to do in STEM, or unsure for whatever reason, being part of this programme is bound to benefit you in one way or another.
|Selfie of Chloe and I on one of our meetups|
I think its important for companies like Deusche bank to give girls like me the opportunity to take part in such events because most time they don't have the opportunity otherwise. For example this event isn't accessible to all due to location and cost, but is an excellent example for girls like myself as to what they can do and be in a field that they are interested in. We all know the stats about low numbers of women being in STEM fields, but solving the problem starts with someone -like the people from Deutsche Bank advocating for those who may need the assistance into getting there. The stigma against STEM for females is a culture, and culture can only be changed by the people who are upholding it like you and I who take opportunities and attempt to make a difference.
If I am fortunate enough to be chosen to go to the GHC I'll most definitely share my experience here, and all my social media accounts as I am a big user of social media. I hope to blog the experience so people can actually see and better understand what goes on and maybe even feel encouraged to go next year. Although I've done/do a lot in school for STEM and promoting it in my community, I won't tbe there to do so for much longer. My hope from this event is to be inspired and that through this event I am able to continue inspiring others when I leave school and uphold the 'STEM leader' role that I've actually enjoyed being in for the last two years.
(apologies for my videos, initially, the entry was supposed to be a vlog which would have been super cool and would have allowed me to live my vlogger dream but technology ironically wasn't my friend an and the edits for my video are proving difficult to upload, hopefully you get the gist though)