Promoting Gender Equality in STEM

SMART STEM Project GroupOutline: GCU continues to proactively promote gender equality as part of our core work. We co-hosted the inaugural SmartSTEMs event in June 2015, which was aimed at inspiring more young women to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The event saw 500 school pupils aged between 11 and 18 come onto GCU’s Glasgow campus to take part in a range of interactive activities.

This included 30 breakout sessions, which covered themes such as 'Crime under the microscope', 'Code now - start writing software' and 'Exploring energy with the S-Cubes'. Some of the other breakout sessions looked at careers in aviation, security on mobile devices and digital modelling of interior space.

In addition, there were awards for the best wearable technology projects, with prizes including a trip to IBM’s research lab in Hursley, a visit to CISCO and a Rolls Royce ride to school.

The event featured keynote addresses from June Thomson, IBM UK and Ireland Healthcare Industry Leader, and Sarah Drummond, Managing Director of design agency SNOOK.

Benefits and impact: Organising the event on behalf of GCU’s School for Engineering and the Built Environment was Dr Tuleen Boutaleb. She said: “Female uptake of engineering and computing programmes remains low and it is events such as SmartSTEMs that aim to improve understanding of the relevance of STEM to future careers for women. As an engineer who lectures in Electronics and Telecommunications, I am sure that this event will contribute to the drive to increase the number of female students in my future classes.”

The SmartSTEMs event won an Inspiring City Award, a ceremony which was organised by The Herald and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in association with city brand People Make Glasgow.

Stuart MacDonald, Managing Director Seric Systems, one of the SmartSTEM partners said: “For Scotland to succeed on a global scale, we must ensure we have the most diverse pool of talent tackling problems.SmartSTEMs exists to ensure the widest possible STEM pipeline is generated among our young people.”