Undergraduate Student Society host Diversity in STEM Event.
20 March 2018
The event was a huge success with over 60 attendees and 20 post-16 students from local Schools in Bristol.
On March 7 2018, University of Bristol Fusion Society hosted a “Diversity in STEM” half day conference. The conference was founded Lara Lalemi in summer 2017 and it is a first of its kind to be held at the University of Bristol. The conference ran two programmes simultaneously to inspire marginalised students (women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled students) to consider a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) by challenging both the “recruitment” and “retain” problem.
For the former, post-16 students that identified as one of the underrepresented groups in STEM were invited to visit a School that was related to a STEM subject they were interested in studying. Each student was 'sponsored' by an academic staff who gave them a tour of the facilities, chatted to the students about their careers and then took them to an outreach event hosted by the department.
In terms of “retaining” students, two speakers were invited to talk about their experience working in academia followed by a panel discussion with representatives from both academia and industry from all over the country. The committee did an amazing job to bring together a diverse set of guests with varied opinions. There was a lot of engagement during the panel discussion, the group discussion between audience members was lively, and there were a range of questions for the panellists from both sixthformers and undergraduates. Questions and answers involved politics, policy making, career paths, internship recommendations and general advice.
The conference ended with a poster session that included undergraduates and local industries (the companies were applicable to most scientific disciplines) – many sixth formers took an active interest in the undergraduate’s current research and panellists were occupied with further conversations related to the panel discussion. The conference was able to discuss not only the problem of the lack of diversity but active methods to bring greater representation in STEM.
Thank you to all in Fusion who, in collaboration with six different societies from across the STEM subjects at Bristol, pioneered the start of much a needed conversation on increasing diversity and retaining women in academia.