Inspiring the next generation of women in science

More than 600 female school pupils have been exploring how they can transform the world through science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at an innovative event hosted by the University of Sheffield.

Student with dna model

The Exploring STEM for Girls event aimed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through a variety of experiments, demonstrations and workshops.

The pupils, aged 13-16 from schools across the country, were given the chance to learn more about possible future education and career pathways.

Highlights of the event, which took place at The Octagon last week (Wednesday 29 March 2017) included: space robots, a physics cloud chamber and chemistry island.

Learning Technologist, Bryony Onley from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, gave pupils the chance to experience virtual reality in a unique workshop.

“This particular experience demonstrates how virtual reality technologies can be prevalent across many different industries,” said Bryony.

“In the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, our students have been able to use it to actually experience their urban planning designs and better engage with stakeholders and end users.”

In collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, the event also gave pupils the opportunity to speak to current University students and staff about their studies, careers and the real life applications of STEM subjects which have helped to make a difference.

Staff from the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) were also on hand to give the students an insight into apprenticeship opportunities.

Students with robot

Muskan Ejaz, 14, from Waterhead Academy in Oldham said: “The event was great - all the staff and students have been really helpful in giving us advice and ideas on what options we have for studying and working in these subjects in the future.

“It’s really helped to show us that jobs in things like science and engineering are just as available to girls as they are to boys.”

Ellie Bywater, 13, from Stocksbridge High School in Sheffield, said: “It was really interesting because we were able to actually get involved and take part in the experiments for ourselves instead of just hearing about it at school.”

The event was introduced by Meg Munn, Patron of the Women’s Engineering Society and Dr Gwen Reilly, Faculty Director of Women in Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

Gemma Greenup, Widening Participation Officer in the Faculty of Engineering and one of the event’s organisers, said: “It was a fantastic day and a great opportunity for local female students to learn more about how they can actually change the world through science and engineering.”

“We hope that it will have inspired them with new ideas on the huge possibilities that are open to girls through STEM subjects and careers.”

Additional Information


The National STEM Learning Network is the largest provider of STEM education and careers support to schools, colleges and other groups working with young people across the UK.

Supported by a unique partnership of Government, charitable trusts and employers, the Network is dedicated to raising young people’s engagement and achievement in STEM, and increasing the numbers of young people progressing in STEM studies and into STEM-related careers post-16.

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Maddy Wainwright
Media & PR Apprentice
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1047