October 2015

Other newsletters

Dear STEM Ambassadors

This first newsletter of the new academic year brings yet more evidence of the huge impact STEM Ambassadors are having in schools and in the community at large across Wales.

As always, can I urge STEM Ambassadors who may not already have done so to contact me to record any activities / events you have participated in over the last 12 months. Any of these can be included on your profile:

If you are not sure whether or not an activity or event applies to your STEM Ambassador role please contact me at You can of course record activities yourself, but if it takes too long just send a brief email and we will do this for you.

Sian Ashton signatureThere are many significant benefits of recording your activities: DBS and insurance cover; keeping your account live and active and of course evidencing the value and impact of the Programme in Wales.

Chemistry Works wonders at the University of South Wales

Chemistry at Work eventChemistry is truly a science with instant impact! This successful event focused on the diverse careers that a qualification in Chemistry can offer. Organised by Helen Obee Reardon of the University of South Wales and kindly supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Chemistry at Work event for Year 9 pupils was made possible by the expertise of four STEM Ambassadors.

Dr Rachel Hopkins, Dr Steve Capper, Dr Mark Elliott and Liam Thomas each delivered 4 sessions at this event. Each Ambassador delivered interactive talks on their specialist field:

The pupils responded enthusiastically to the sessions, which made Chemistry relevant to the real world of work. With so many competing influences it is valuable to show how a difficult concept can be made easy to understand using everyday links to something familiar. Shining a UV light into tonic water can be an illuminating demonstration of kitchen chemistry to adults and pupils alike.

Schools attending were: Tonypandy College; Mountain Ash; Lliswerry and Heolddu.

Lab in a Lorry draws the volunteers

Lab in a Lorry eventLab in a Lorry logoMore than 150 people across Wales have volunteered to help out on Lab in a Lorry over the past year, among them STEM Ambassadors of all ages and specialisms. So what’s the attraction of this travelling lab, run by the Institute of Physics? It seems we are drawn to the ‘lightbulb’ moment, when we see schoolchildren learning from doing experiments.

Among those helping in Pembrokeshire in September were: Malcolm Dubber, a safety consultant with a keen interest in chemistry; Nicola Jones, from Tata Steel; and Gill Perkins from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Malcolm and Nicola agreed that the hands-on nature of the experiments had prompted them to volunteer, and Gill said: "it's great to see how keen the pupils are to take part".

Other volunteers have also remarked on the pupils obvious enjoyment: One described a child shouting ‘Eureka’ when she realised why sunsets are red. Another spoke of the ‘Wow’ moments when the pupils get really excited about what they’ve seen or done.

Helen Hughes See Science recruiter / supporter

STEM Ambassadors supporting Community Groups

Several STEM Ambassadors offer their time to support Community Groups such as Cubs, Brownies and Scouts amongst others. These groups can have the advantage of holding meetings after working hours, and with pupils who have volunteered to attend rather like STEM Clubs. Community group leaders are always grateful for their support. Here are two examples from very different age groups.

Beddau Cubs

The lively and remarkable Allyson Capron visited Beddau Cubs for a Science Session on solids; liquids and gases. Cubs coordinator Sian Rowlands commented: "I have to say, she was excellent. She was very enthusiastic and the kids loved it. We all thoroughly enjoyed last night."

From these lovely photos you can see how Allyson made an impact, and the Cubs will surely achieve their Science Badge! STEM Ambassador Stuart Bishop is following up at Beddau with a session on Machines.

Sea Cadets fly for Gold and Silver wings with STEM Ambassador Carl Mason

Senior Pilot Carl MasonSenior Pilot Carl Mason had recently completed his flying training on a Falke 25C. He then had training on the Grob at Lee-On-Solent before the course, which ran in mid July.

Eleven cadets attended from all over the country and were selected for the course from the bronze wings ground school held at the Sea Cadet Training Centre in Weymouth and with 727 Training Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton in February. At the end of the week Carl had successfully assisted Cadets to 5 Gold and 6 Silver wing awards. Carl trains the cadets in Aviation Engineering and Pilot skills.

Cwm Idwal Field Trip

Cwm IdwalEvery year Bangor University students visit Cwm Idwal to see and discuss the conservation importance of the lake as part of an undergraduate module on freshwater ecosystems.

Last year we decided to set a new science communication challenge for the students by asking them to write a blog on the experience. Christopher Stuart Forrest produced an outstanding article which we are delighted to be able to publish here. In addition this exercise was described by external course examiners as ‘exemplar’ giving students the chance to combine science and the arts. We look forward to bringing more students to walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin at Cwm Idwal. A visit to this site in any weather can be an inspirational experience.

STEM Ambassador Catherine Duigan & Nathalie Fenner

Back to topInductions and DBS renewal sessions for STEM Ambassadors

The next series of inductions will take place on the following dates – to book a place contact Newly Registered Ambassadors must attend an induction meeting and bring their ID documents with them. Approved Ambassadors are also welcome to attend.

Back to topCurrent schools requests for Ambassador support

To find out more about each request, follow the ‘more information’ link. This will take you to relevant detailed request on the current STEM Ambassador requests web page. If you are able to contribute, or would like to know more before deciding, please contact

  1. Pembrokeshire. Big Bang near me event. Thursday 22 October. More information…
  2. Gwynedd. Narrow Gauge Railway Half-term activities. 26-31 October. More information…
  3. Gwent. Discovery CREST Award support. December (dates to be confirmed). More information…
  4. Bridgend. Primary School Science: Wild Woods; Light and MAT sessions. Autumn and Spring term, flexible dates to suit STEM Ambassadors. More information…
  5. Carmarthen. Mock Interviews Year 13. Thursday 5 November. More information…
  6. Clydach, Swansea. Potions: Materials and changes of states; Primary Science Chemistry /Physics. More information…
  7. Porthmead Primary, Swansea. Potions: Materials and changes of states: Primary Science Chemistry and Physics. More information…
  8. Swansea. 6th Form Student sessions. Tuesday 12 January; February 9; 8 March. More information…
  9. Tonypandy. Chemistry Sessions (practical or career presentation). Autumn dates to suit your schedule. More information…
  10. Neath – Port Talbot. Workshop sessions: The Importance of Languages in Industry, Science, Trade and Business. Friday 4 December. More information…
  11. Llandovery. STEM in the Real World. Autumn Term to suit your schedule. More information…
  12. Newport County. Digital Volunteers (Coding Programmes with Primary Schools). Various dates and locations. More information…
  13. Brecon Powys. Science for Primary. Autumn – Spring terms. More information…
  14. Vale of Glamorgan. Forensics, fingerprints and Human Identity. Autumn term, dates flexible to your schedule. More information…
  15. West Wales. Mock Interviews. Various schools / dates. More information…
  16. Merthyr Tydfil. Food Science / Equipment project. Any Wednesday in Autumn term. More information…
  17. Bridgend County. BTEC Art and Design. Textiles or Graphic Design. Dates in agreement with Ambassador. More information…
  18. Cardiff. STEM for Year 4. More information…
  19. Bridgend. Greenpower Goblin. Wednesday 14 October. More information…
  20. Llanhari. Biodiversity and the Environment. Dates to suit Ambassador. More information…
  21. Swansea. Mock interviews and Careers Carousels. Various schools and dates October – December. More information…
  22. Pembrokeshire. Year 9 Collapsed Curriculum Day / Careers Carousel. Tuesday 17 November. More information…
  23. Vale of Glamorgan. Maths and Science week activities. 16-20 November. More information…
  24. Cardiff. Biology STEM Club initiative. Dates/time to suit Ambassador. More information…

Back to topSTEM Ambassador resources and other opportunities

STEM Ambassadors may be interested in the following newly-posted opportunities and resources. Please note that the information is provided by the organisation, and that See Science is not the contact point for most of these listings. You can view current opportunities which have been posted previously on the other STEM Ambassador opportunities web page.

Engineering Team Challenge (ETC) November 2015

STEM Ambassadors with links to local schools may wish to promote this opportunity – or if you would like to assist at one of the events please let me know and I will put you in contact with Gillian Steele.

The ICE Engineering Team Challenge South Wales is an event held to inspire Year 9 pupils who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths to consider a career in engineering at professional level. It will take place between Monday 2 and Friday 6 November 2015, coinciding with Tomorrow's Engineers Week, at venues located near Cardiff, Swansea and Carmarthen.

Up to 16 Year 9 Pupils may attend a Coastal ETC day at one of the venues. The event is FREE and places are limited.

The pupils will have a chance to experience coastal physical modelling on a small scale, learn about the different forms of engineering and the opportunities available within the Engineering Industry. Additionally, the challenge will test their budgeting skills, team work and time management.

To register interest from your school please contact Gillian Steele on 02920 777373 or at

Royal Society Partnership Grants

The next round of Royal Society Partnership Grants opens on November 15 and there will be another round in June/July. The scheme offers up to £3,000 to fund school STEM projects for pupils aged 5–18. Projects need to be investigative and supported by teachers and STEM professionals (research or industry) working in partnership. They should:

More information here.

Wales Gene Park / Jurassic World

As part of the Into Film film festival Wales Gene Park will be showing Jurassic World in lecture theatre 1, University Hospital Wales on Friday 6 November. The screening will be followed by an interactive session with Dr Rhys Jones, from the School of Biosciences (who presents Rhys Jones's Wildlife Patrol and Rhys to the Rescue on BBC One, amongst other wildlife programmes). It is primarily aimed at pupils in years 8 and 9 ( if teachers would like to bring a group from a different year group they can contact to discuss further – but remember the film is certificate 12). More information here.

Cardiff University 'Science In Health' work experience

If you know of a pupil keen to apply for work experience at the School of Medicine Cardiff University, please contact Sian Ashton at for an application form.

Life Sciences Challenge 2016

Cardiff School of Medicine PhD students and early career researchers want to share this enthusiasm for trying to understand the natural world with pupils in Wales, through the 'Life Sciences Challenge', an inter-school competition for Yr 10 pupils. More information here or contact Karen Edwards, Project Support Officer, Cardiff University School of Medicine

IOP Awards nominations

The IOP is seeking nominations for the 2016 awards and we need your help to identify the most outstanding physicists in their respective fields of physics. Our awards recognise and reward outstanding achievements in industry, business and research as well as contributions made to outreach and education.

Nominations are now open – closing date 29 January 2016. More information and how to make a nominatation here.

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