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NanoScience | Blog

Inspiring and driving talent into STEM

By Stephanie Forrest, Marketing Director at Oxford Instruments NanoScience

Having passion and being passionate about the work that you do is fundamental, especially when you spend so much of your time working. I was recently fortunate enough in my role as marketing lead here at Oxford Instruments NanoScience to work in partnership with Science Oxford and the Oxford Trust on inspiring the next generation of young people to continue their education in STEM and to think about the opportunities for adventure and lifelong learning that STEM can offer. An endeavour that is at the heart of Oxford Instruments and a consistent thread in the Company’s 60+ year history.

When we approached the Oxford Trust with the idea of organising a STEM FEST to provide an opportunity for 13+ year olds to engage with science through an interactive zone and talks from a broad and diverse list of speakers they were very supportive from the outset.

We pulled together a curated list of speakers including representatives from Quantum Dice and Universal Quantum; Siemens Healthineers Magnet Technology; The Geological Society; Tokamak Energy and the University of Oxford; as well as colleagues from Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis and Plasma Technology. We also worked with BBC Science presenter, Ayo Sokale, to moderate the talks.

Each speaker was asked to share what had inspired them to get into STEM; what they do and how they got into the job that they do.

Each speaker was also asked what advice they would give to anyone who wanted to get into STEM. It’s an overview of these insights and key insights that I wanted to share.

Wenmiao Yu, Quantum Dice: Keep an open mind and work with mentors, they are so important

Natasha Stephen, The Geological Society: Find people around you to support you and foster curiosity on your journey

M’hamed Lakrimi, Siemens: Pick an innovative culture and make sure that you are passionate about what you do

Katie Hore, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology: Take opportunities when they come along

Dr Thomas Hird, University of Oxford: Fundamentally do what you love

Luuk Earl, Universal Quantum: Embrace the fact that the job you eventually do might not exist today. You can get an awfully long way in life by being nice

James Fowler, Tokamak Energy: You don’t need to know straight away what you want to do - skills are transferable

Louise Hughes, Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis: Work out what you’re interested in and ask lots of questions

It was the passion and love of learning that came across from all of our speakers as well as Ayo Sokale that resonated the most.

This project has been one of my personal highlights of the year. Building an event to inspire young people has inspired us too, reminding us what we love about working in STEM communication: intellectual challenge, real-world impact and constant discovery. I can’t think of a better field to work in.