GCU aims to get more women into STEM

01 June 2015

SmartSTEMs aims to inspire more young women to take up STEM subjects.

SmartSTEMs aims to inspire more young women to take up STEM subjects.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is to host an event aimed at inspiring more young women to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The inaugural, free-to-attend SmartSTEMs event will take place at the University’s Glasgow campus throughout the day on Wednesday, June 3. The event, which will have 500 school pupils aged between 11 and 18 in attendance, will consist of female speakers, role models and 30 hands-on breakout sessions.

The breakout sessions include titles such as 'Crime under the microscope', 'Code now - start writing software' and 'Exploring energy with the S-Cubes'. Some of the other breakout sessions will look at careers in aviation, security on mobile devices and digital modelling of interior space.

There will also be an award for the best Wearable Technology project, with the prizes including a trip to IBM’s research lab in Hursley, a visit to CISCO and a Rolls Royce ride to school.

Organising the event on behalf of GCU’s School for Engineering and the Built Environment is Dr Tuleen Boutaleb. She said: “This is an amazing event that will provide young girls with a great opportunity to get hands-on experience of STEM-related topics.

“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.”

Professor Valerie Webster, Vice Principal & Pro Vice Chancellor Learning and Student Experience, said: “I’m delighted we are hosting this event at GCU. It is an exciting opportunity which will open up the world of STEM to female pupils and hopefully encourage them to go on to study STEM subjects at university.

“This event is a perfect fit with the University’s commitment to gender equality. Understanding the barriers to females studying STEM subjects at university and thus entering the related professions is a key part of our Athena SWAN* activity.”

The SmartSTEMs event is a collaboration between several partners, and has been driven by Seric Systems, a technology business specialising in security, fraud prevention and infrastructure.

Stuart MacDonald, Managing Director Seric Systems, 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.”


*Athena SWAN is a national scheme which recognises a commitment to supporting and advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine in higher education and research.