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UWS Summer STEM Academy helps create community of ambassadors to inspire next generation

UWS Summer STEM Academy helps create community of ambassadors to inspire next generation

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) recently held a two-day Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Summer Academy to inspire confidence and create STEM ambassadors within communities.

Hosted at UWS’ Paisley campus on the 18th and 19th of June, fully-booked programme aimed to provide student primary teachers and secondary school pupils from across Scotland with the opportunity to learn first-hand from STEM academics and industry specialists, developing their own projects and initiatives to deliver to primary school children.

Following the two-day programme, secondary school pupils are equipped to run STEM activities within their own schools, and will be eligible to be put forward for the UWS Scotland PRAiSE Award (Personal Recognition in Academic and Industrial STEM Education), which recognises the work they’ve carried out to promote STEM in their local communities.

Attendees benefitted from an afternoon session at BioCity, Glasgow, a pioneering life science incubator and business collective, where they learnt about drug development, the use of robotics in drug design and delivery and how to assess the shelf life of medication.

The Summer STEM Academy, which was rolled out as a UK-first last year, saw two new pupil-led workshops take place, demonstrating the sustainability of the model: Seaview Primary School in Angus, winners of the Scottish Air Race Challenge and Carnoustie High School, who developed a Super Hero Science programme for Angus schools.

This year, thanks to its popularity, the Summer STEM Academy is also set to take place at UWS’ Lanarkshire Campus in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, ensuring over 230 participants benefit from the initiative.

Dr Margaret Ritchie, Lecturer in Education at UWS, has been instrumental in developing the training model. She said: “Our Summer STEM Academy gives both student teachers, and secondary pupils, the opportunity to improve their confidence in teaching STEM subjects, instilling engaging techniques for learning and teaching. It brokers partnerships between university researchers, primary and secondary schools and industry; whilst the co-created activities inspired by the workshops develop practical and critical thinking skills.”

Now in its second year, the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) Teacher Researcher programme has endorsed the UWS Summer STEM Academy as part of its ‘Teachers as Researchers’ initative.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice Chancellor UWS, said: “I’m delighted that the UWS Summer STEM Academy has returned for a second year and has expanded to include sessions at our Lanarkshire campus. UWS is committed to championing STEM subjects and this training programme allows us to do so across a wide range of ages and stages, helping to inspire and motivate teachers and young people thanks to its highly collaborative nature.”

The 2019 UWS Summer STEM Academy is supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s prestigious large outreach grant and hosted in partnership with Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities.