11 October 2012University of Bristol researchers Owen Rackham (Department of Computer Science) and Adam Sardar (Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences) received the 'STEM University Department of the Year’ award. This annual award was presented to the pair to recognise their outstanding contribution to the regional Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador programme. This government-funded scheme helps researchers interact with young people and enable them to develop their creativity, problem-solving and employability skills.
After speaking to local school teachers at a STEM networking event, Adam and Owen developed a workshop centred on the 'Maths of Social Networking'. They piloted the workshop at Castle School, Thornbury, and received exceptional feedback from staff and students. Since then other ambassadors have been trained to run the workshop in a number of schools in the local area.
The pair were delighted to receive the award and hope that this success goes some way to motivating more students and academics to become involved in outreach. The work that Adam and Owen have done for STEMNET is part of wider outreach tradition that has built up amongst students and alumni of the Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences. They have visited music festivals, performed at stand-up comedy nights and written articles for magazines all in the name of improving the public perception of STEM. The pair hope to continue this success into next year, already planning a module for schools based around mathematics and genetics. If you would like to find out how you can get involved with outreach activities email firstname.lastname@example.org