Sweet opportunities in STEM!
Two Barry site employees took the chance to share their passion for science with local school children recently, in the hope that they might encourage more youngsters to explore carers in so-called STEM subjects.
In a move which he knew would capture the interest of younger children, Ieuan Evans, Site Analytical Specialist, managed to involve sweets in a series of display experiments he carried out at a local primary school, before moving on to careers-related discussions with Lab Analyst colleague Beth Dighton at a college in Cardiff.
The enthusiastic Ieuan first visited Cadoxton School primary school on his STEM promotional tour, where he showed two classes of 30 children the wonders of chromatography - using Skittles sweets in experiments to separate the colours and e-numbers!
Then it was over to St David’s catholic college in Cardiff for a STEM-related careers event, where a Dow stand displayed silicone samples and brought to life the manufacturing processes undertaken at Barry, where silicone metals are transformed into fluids.
“I started working with the college as a favour to a friend around three years ago, purely because I was eager to promote the benefits of a science-related career, and because cheesy as it may sound I really enjoy seeing other people engage in science as I do!” explained Ieuan. “It’s grown from there, and I’ve since become a member of the college’s STEM steering team and been a fully registered STEM ambassador for the last six months.”
The STEM Ambassador network is a voluntary group of individuals keen to promote the wide career opportunities presented by science, technology, engineering and maths. Beth explained how many students at the college were interested in industrial placements, whether they had studied science-related subjects or not – and how science doesn’t always have to mean wearing scrubs!
“I wanted to go along and show young people that science can open more doors than hospital doors,” she laughed. “Even though I always enjoyed science, I was frustrated when careers advisors would continually push me towards medicine, which isn’t for everyone.
“It was also chance to show that a science-based degree isn’t essential to many roles in international companies such as Dow – people who’ve had industrial placements onsite may have studied subjects such as international business, for example.”
Both individuals came out of the sessions eager to do more, enjoying the opportunity to give something back and promote the wide benefits of a career in science - particularly in large multinationals such as Dow.
If you are interested in joining Ieuan, Beth and other Dow colleagues on their crusade to celebrate the opportunities of studying STEM subjects, volunteering to part of the STEM Ambassador Network is a great way of getting involved, and promoting the work Dow does at the same time. Visit www.stemnet.org.uk/ambassadors/ to find out more.