I recently took part in an online X-factor style STEM event sponsored by the Wellcome Trust called I'm A Scientist: Get Me Out of Here which is aimed at getting more school children interested in science as a career.
The event took place over 2 weeks in March, and involved thousands of school children asking questions via live online chats and message boards. They could ask anything about science, from the existence of aliens, to the big question - is the dress really blue/black?
I took part in the Light Zone, sponsored by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC), which involved 5 scientists who work with the electromagnetic spectrum from lasers to X-rays. The children were able to post questions to the scientists and vote, with daily evictions adding to the excitement. After 2 weeks the votes were counted and I came out on top, and received a £500 prize fund to put towards further outreach work!
As part of my role as a STEM ambassador in Sussex I aim to put the money towards buying a 3D printer for a local school, and setting up a 3D printing club for the children. This is a great opportunity to spread awareness and experience of 3D printing to school children - something which I hope will encourage them to take up science careers.
£500 isn't quite enough to get a 3D printer so I am appealing to generous 3D printing companies in the UK to see if they would like to help top up the fund, or maybe help supply some software and or expertise in getting the project up and running. In the meantime a call has gone out to all schools who take part in STEMnet projects in Sussex for them to tell me why they deserve the 3D printer - and a decision will be made in early May.
You can follow me on Twitter to see how the project comes along!