04 Apr 2019

DSTL presents girls in STEM challenge

The DSTL has presented a challenge to encourage girls in STEM, bringing its annual competition to secondary schools.

Staff from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) presented a challenge in Wiltshire schools to encourage girls in Stem. The annual Soroptimists STEM Challenge Trophy featured STEM ambassadors as mentors and judges for the event.

Teams from Years 8 and 9 at the schools were invited to research a simple sustainable invention to alleviate poverty in the developing world. They designed and created prototypes to improve the lives of people in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.

Lisa Scandling, DSTL STEM Ambassador, Chairman of the Judges, and President-Elect of the new Salisbury Soroptomists Club, said: “I believe it is important for Dstl to support initiatives to encourage young people, particularly girls, to consider careers in STEM. Through the STEM ambassador scheme within Dstl, this challenge allowed Dstl mentors to work in schools alongside the teams supporting, guiding and encouraging them.”

“Their ideas, knowledge about the world and research skills are just incredible – they are so much better than I remember being at their age! If we have encouraged even a fraction of the girls there to consider the range of possible futures in STEM, then I think we have done well.”

The prize was won by the team ‘Fresher, Faster Water Supplies’ from a grammar school in the area, with 21 girls in five teams representing three schools in the competition, which is in its second year. The winning entry featured aluminium pipes and solar batteries to create an eco friendly water pump to supply those affected by the war in Yemen.

Judges praised the entries for presentation skills and the research that had gone into them. The other judges were Cerys Rees, Fellow at DSTL, Rhian Griffiths, Design Engineer at Gilo Industries, and Helen Harrison, Deputy Head of Electrical Engineering and Construction at Wiltshire College.

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