STEM Ambassadors programme
The large number of outreach activities conducted by Bristol ChemLabS is only made possible by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by a considerable fraction of the almost 250 Postgraduate Chemists in the School of Chemistry each year. Up to January 2013 nearly 700 postgraduate chemists had been through the training..
All Postgraduate Chemists that are employed in Bristol ChemLabS Outreach activities to work with primary and secondary school students have been through the STEM Ambassadors programme (formerly known as the Science and Engineering Ambassador or SEA programme) training. The training is organised through the School of Chemistry and is delivered by Claire Dimond of Graphic Science.
The scheme not only makes clear the responsibilities of the STEM Ambassadors and the teachers they work with during activities, but also emphasises the need for correct levels of communication. All STEM Ambassadors are Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked (now termed Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)checked) and insured as part of this scheme.
Further details of STEMNET may be found here.
What others think of the work of the STEM Ambassadors"The panel were extremely impressed with the breadth of work undertaken by the Ambassadors.They praised the contribution of the postgraduate students involved in the scheme and asked that their congratulations were passed on".
"postgrads were friendly, knowledgeable and obviously passionate about their subject. It is great to see people that "
What’s in it for the STEM Ambassadors?
According to the official STEM Ambassadors website the answers include:
- it helps to further develop your planning and preparation skills
- it helps to strengthen your communication skills–knowing how to present and pitch knowledge at the right level for students of different abilities
- it gives you a sense of achievement after delivering an activity
- it helps to identify what aspects of your job motivate and stimulate you most–many Ambassadors will pick out these aspects to focus on with the students
- it gives you a fresh perspective on your day-to-day job
- it helps to raise your profile at work
- it contributes to your progression towards Chartered status
- it's lots of fun!
Few, if any, would argue against the last point!
Zoe Schnepp (photo, right) was a STEM Ambassador while a PhD student at Bristol and says: "ChemLabS outreach got me confident enough to do things like the FameLabs [competition]. It's such good training to stand up in front of groups of kids of all different ages.".
The news of Zoe's success even made it into New Scientist! You can see a snippet of Zoe's performance in the video of the Bristol heat, which Famelab says may have been the "best ever", and her finalist's showreel is available on YouTube.
For Information on the Next Training Session for STEM Ambassadors please email firstname.lastname@example.org
An occasional paper on the Bristol ChemLabS use of STEM Ambassadors by Tim Harrison and Dudley Shallcross can be found here