Girls studying STEM in Suffolk have risen to a challenge to design a solution to cut energy use at their schools through a project backed by EDF Energy and the Engineering Development Trust.
Schools from Bungay, Leiston and Beccles took part in the project which saw the students’ research energy use at their schools, plan ways to reduce it, design a model to demonstrate their solution and evaluate their results.
The ten week project culminated in a celebratory assessment day at Sizewell B on Friday where the girls also got to hear from an inspirational speaker working in science, Aimee Tovell, a chemistry technician at Sizewell B. Aimee spoke with the girls about her route into the industry and how she is now putting her degree in forensic science to use in the real world.
With the support of a Sizewell B apprentice, the girls produced an engineered model of their solution and a project handbook and display which they shared with assessors during the celebration and assessment day.
Alde Valley Academy in Leiston was selected as the overall project winner with their vibrating carpets that generated power as students walked on them. Judges loved the connection between science and solution to the problem.
Speaking on behalf of the winning team, Isabel Brinkley, 14, Alde Valley Academy, said: “The project has improved my self-confidence and has been empowering for us all.”
Claire Wills, Faculty Leader for STEM at Alde Valley Academy, said: “The girls’ confidence has grown so much over the last 10 weeks. To see them presenting at the event today they were so mature, I am very proud of them.”
Linda Fuller, Head of Schools Programmes for the EDT, told the students: “You have all come a long way during this project and should be very proud of yourselves. You have learnt life skills and these should be used in your applications in Further Education and eventual career choices. Congratulations.”
The project, which was launched in January, is one of the many ways that EDF Energy is engaging with schools to encourage more girls to think about pursuing STEM related careers.
Niki Rousseau, Community Relations, Sizewell B, said: ‘It was great to see the enthusiasm the girls and their schools have for STEM. We want to harness that enthusiasm and inspire girls to continue to study science and increase the connection between their studies and potential future careers. I hope the project has helped achieve this and that meeting a real life female chemist from Sizewell B has also helped cement this link between their studies and possible future careers.”
Anyone keen to find out more about Sizewell B or how they can encourage interest in STEM at their schools should contact the Sizewell B visitor centre on 01728 653974.