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Youngsters from nine local schools gathered at Hurst Community College in Tadley for an interactive day of fun and competition to mark Ada Lovelace Day on 11 October.
Ada was a19th-century English mathematician and writer. She is best known for her work with Charles Babbage, to create the world's first general purpose computer and was a pioneer of modern programming. Ada Lovelace Day is an annual event to raise the profile of women in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) and showcase their past and present achievements.
The event was organized and run by Frederica Sheehan-Greatorex, Heather Parkes, Laura Peacock, and Hennali Vegad from the AWE Women’s Network. Supported on the day by graduates, apprentices and AWE’s STEM ambassadors, their aim was to show how science can be fun and encourage the youngsters to think about a future in STEM.
Each team had researched famous female scientists and engineers and chose who they thought had made the greatest impact in STEM over the past 200 years. They made displays about their selected individual and answered questions from the judges about their work by the judges. Prizes, presented by AWE’s Head of Engineering, Kerry Barker, were awarded to the teams judged to have the best exhibits.
The budding scientists and engineers also had great fun with a variety of STEM-related activities, experiments and demonstrations. AWE graduate manufacturing engineer Frederica Sheehan-Greatorex said: “The feedback was 100% positive. They all loved the demonstrations and experiments. Favourites included the Maths Codebreaking puzzle and our demonstration of pressure. It was such a rewarding day and I think we enjoyed it as much as the youngsters!”
West Berkshire councillor, Molly Lock, said: “There is a huge need for more young people to sign up for STEM subjects so that we have keen young minds working in science, technology and engineering in the future. Helping pupils to understand that these subjects are fun and to learn about the amazing accomplishments of women in STEM in particular is a great way of supporting this need.”