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To mark British Science Week 2021 (5–14 March 2021), Jennifer Lobo from the Trans-Pennine STEM Ambassador Hub spoke to some of their volunteers about what it’s like to work in STEM and about the future of their roles in the field.

Our Ambassadors are professionals studying and working in different areas of STEM, who volunteer with us to inspire and enthuse the next generations about STEM careers. Across the country there are over 33,000 STEM Ambassadors who are working on exciting and innovative projects, ideas and solutions that will affect our future.

Each year there’s a theme for British Science Week and this year it’s all about ‘innovating for the future’, so we’ve been speaking to some of our STEM Ambassadors about their jobs and what they are excited about in the future of STEM.

Hannah Booker
Hannah Booker

Hannah Booker

Hannah is an Innovation Associate at the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing. Hannah creates new ideas and products for older people to help them live better lives, and tests these ideas and products by speaking to older people and their communities.

Why is your area of STEM important?

My area of work is important as I help to think of ideas that help not only older people but their families, communities and neighbourhoods. This has a knock-on impact across generations and sectors, so it’s important for younger people too. It covers everything from planning and transport to wellbeing, fashion, skin care and employment, so I get to see changes across all parts of daily life.

What is your favourite part of your job?

My favourite parts of my job are all the wonderful people I work with, and being in a workplace where I get to be creative and work on really interesting projects that can make a big difference to people’s lives and how they live. I love that it spans across multiple sectors, so it means that every day is different.

What do you think your job/ area of STEM will look like in the future?

In the future, I think my job will be essential, especially when it comes to the UK having an increasingly ageing population, with one in five people expected to be over 65 by 2030. The UN declared in 2021 that this decade is a decade of healthy ageing, and in a post-pandemic world where more people are thinking about their physical and mental health, harnessing insights and catalysing innovations for a better, healthier world will be important to all of us. It will be really interesting to see what role technology and AI takes within our workplace and the difference we can make not only in the North East of England, but globally.

Naomi McFarlane
Naomi McFarlane

Naomi McFarlane

Naomi is a VR Developer at 3DW in Manchester. Naomi creates 3D interactive models for important infrastructure projects such as windfarms and powerlines as well as travelling round the UK delivering workshops in schools.

Why is your area of STEM important?

Environment is a key part of my area of STEM and it’s vital to educate people from a young age to make a positive impact in the future.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Being able to connect with different people through the 3D models I create and learning new skills.

What do you think your job will look like in the future?

We are currently looking into running our STEM workshops online as well as in person and we would like to run the workshops in more areas in the UK and abroad.
Find out more about 3DW’s plans for their STEM programme here.
Ian Dickinson
Ian Dickinson

Ian Dickinson

Ian is an Industrial Refrigeration Design Engineer at Clade Engineering Systems Limited in Leeds. Ian designs refrigeration systems for huge warehouses.

Why is your area of STEM important?

Refrigeration is everywhere, at home, supermarkets, distribution chains. The basic system that makes up refrigeration is also used for air conditioning. There are a lot of office blocks with air conditioning. Many people don’t think about refrigeration but what would happen if it all stopped? How would supermarkets keep food fresh? How long would milk last? What about the industry’s that depend on cooling e.g. pharmaceuticals?

What is your favourite part of your job?

Definitely research and development. I love exploring new ideas and the wider effect.  For example, re-using waste heat to generate power. Imagine having a system that can cool, heat and generate power from nothing but the heat energy contained within air.

What do you think your job/ area of STEM will look like in the future?

Right now, I don’t think it will look much different. Mechanical refrigeration has not changed much since it was first invented back in the 1800s. However, now it is much more energy efficient and easier to install. The opportunity is there for refrigeration systems to be used as heating (heat pumps are nearly the same as refrigeration systems). Small heat pumps are now available for domestic houses. Waste heat can be reused for power, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. So, it could, with the right ideas and interest, provide sustainable heating, cooling and power with little impact on the environment.
Natasha Dunkinson
Natasha Dunkinson

Natasha Dunkinson

Natasha is an Aerospace Engineering Design Apprentice at BAE Systems. As an apprentice Natasha gets a new placement every five months in a different department of BAE Systems so that she gets to work on different types of aircraft.

Why is your area of STEM important?

A major aspect of STEM is technology and the application of engineering, mathematics, and other sciences. These are all part of my role. Technology is something always being developed and is the foundation of most of my roles.

What is your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part of my job is knowing my job has an impact to our customers. I am given responsibility for real working platforms from such a young age. I love to talk to different individuals around the business and learn about real life applications of mathematics and physics.

What do you think your job/ area of STEM will look like in the future?

The future of work is ever-changing and no one can predict the future. However, something I am excited for in the future is electric aircraft. The future is electric, and I look forward to being involved in electric projects and helping to reduce the aerospace industries contribution to carbon emissions.
Natalie Barnes
Natalie Barnes

Natalie Barnes

Natalie is a Mechanical Design Engineer at NUVIA UK. Natalie designs and develops ways of safely dismantling old nuclear power plants.

Why is your area of STEM important?

My area of STEM is important because it is ensuring the continuation of providing a source of clean power in years to come–nuclear power!

What is your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part of my job is being involved in the design work. It enables me to be creative but most importantly it gives me a sense of pride knowing I am part of a hard-working team who are keen on ensuring the safety of the public and the environment.

What do you think your job/ area of STEM will look like in the future?

In the future, I think my job will be involved in the new-build of nuclear power plants (like Hinkley Point C). In my career so far, I have been working on the dismantling of old power plants so being involved in the design and build of new ones would be a wonderful change and a great learning experience. A change I would like to see is for more people to realise how vast and interesting engineering really is. We need engineers more now than ever before!
Sara Campinoti
Sara Campinoti

Sara Campinoti

Sara is a Research Associate at the Foundation for Liver Research at the Institute of Hepatology and King’s College London. Sara is studying how to make an engineered liver from cells and a protein scaffold.

Why is your area of STEM important?

The field I work in it is often referred as ’tissue engineering’. This field is very important in young peoples lives as, thanks to emerging technologies in tissue engineering, we hope one day to be able to build organs in the lab that could be transplanted into patients (for example into kids affected by certain genetic disorders that cause organ malfunctioning).

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love the fact that every day is different from each other. It makes every day very fun and exciting! However, my favourite part of being a scientist is the idea that I can make novel discoveries that can improve people’s health. You look down at cells under the microscope and you notice something which might be a new finding that no one else has done before, and that simple observation can lead into new projects and exciting results!

What do you think your job/ area of STEM will look like in the future?

I believe 3D printing technology could have a huge impact in the way we perform biological experiments. For instance, we could print mini organs in the lab and study what happens in case of a disease or infections. Tissue engineered and 3D-printed organs will have a huge impact on science and medicine of the future!


If you work in science, engineering, technology or maths and would like to become a STEM Ambassador, find out more and apply here: https://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/learning/stem-ambassadors

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