STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects have been a hot topic for a while now; the lack of take up in schools, the skills shortage this may cause, and the gender gap in take up, which is leading into the underrepresentation of women in STEM-based careers and a gender pay gap to match (it’s not just a problem at the BBC!). The Higher Education Funding Council for England has described STEM subjects as “strategically important and vulnerable,” and while educators might understand this, encouraging pupils (especially young women) to study STEM subjects remains a challenge. How about some inspirational speakers to guide the way? At JLA we work with a number of guest speakers relevant to STEM, but I’ve picked four favourites (who just happen to be women!):
You may recognise Maggie from The Sky at Night and Stargazing Live, but did you know she was inspired into scientific study by the Clangers? As an inspirational speaker she aims to pass on her enthusiasm to younger generations (who may not remember the knitted pink aliens) and get them excited by all aspects of science. Her passion for the subject is infectious, and she shares stories that are both inspiring and fascinating, from overcoming the challenge of dyslexia at school to making telescopes and satellites to discover more about the mysteries of the universe.
LJ covers social media, online trends and gadgets for programmes across the BBC, including Click and Radio 5 Live, and speaks on topics such as viral content and how social media affects the world (very relevant to young people!).
She is also hands on, she has fixed her own iPad, built a device to emulate her synaesthesia (she has a degree in music and perfect pitch) and is building a drone from scratch. LJ’s expertise and enthusiasm will help young people see the gadgets and social media they are so used to in a completely different light, and maybe even spark an interest in how they could become creators as well as users.
Kate is a National STEM Careers Coordinator and Patron of WISE (Women Into Science, Engineering and Construction), so she understands the importance of STEM subjects and encouraging young people to study them more than most. She has a physics degree, and began her career as an engineer, but has since presented Tomorrow’s World and become a qualified teacher. As an inspirational speaker Kate explores many aspects of science and technology but specifically aims to encourage young people and women into STEM industries.
Maths may have a bit of a reputation as a dry and difficult subject, but this is a reputation that Hannah disagrees with and is effortlessly able to dispel in her talks. Hannah brings the subject to life by revealing the maths of the everyday and the importance of data in our lives, with the same enthusiasm seen in her TV programmes (City in the Sky, The Joy of Data). She opens up the world of mathematics (and how it fits into our world), explaining the relevance and importance of the subject.
These are just four of the many inspirational speakers that we work with, and I think they are fantastic representatives of what is possible when you get involved in STEM subjects. If you would like to book one of these inspirational speakers, or would like further suggestions for STEM keynote speakers, please contact us.