I joined STEMnet back in March, becoming a STEM ambassador, which all sounds rather grand, but basically involves engaging school children and their teachers in the application of science. I did a talk to a group of year 7s back in November 2013, enjoyed the experience and thought I should make it a more regular thing.
In June I got the chance to up the ante – talking to four year 9 classes at Heartlands High School, Wood Green, about what I do: molecular parasitology. It was also an opportunity to show them that studying science at any level is useful, not only for their future careers, but also can give them a greater appreciation of the world around them.
What did I learn? Year 9 are a lot more challenging than year 7! But, just as enthusiastic when they get going. And, they love the gross stuff – after all, if we’re honest, it’s probably what drew our attention to parasites in the first place! Most importantly, while the numbers can tell a story, a few graphic images can drive home the devastating impact many parasitic diseases have on sufferers and why the work we do is so important.