Deborah Sims

Senior Lecturer’ at University of Greenwich

Why did you become an Ambassador?
This was something I had wanted to do for quite a while and when I moved out of industry into academia it became much easier because my hours became much more predictable and I was no longer working away from home. The role of being a STEM ambassador also links well with my marketing and recruitment roles within the university which are all about talking to young people about the opportunities we offer at the university and finding the right programme of study for them.

How much time do you commit to Ambassador Activities?
It varies but I suppose I do about one event a month on average, so about 2-3 hours a month.

What activities have you been involved in?
I have helped out with careers events for school children, an evening event to explain STEM to secondary school teachers, a World of Work day with a local grammar school, a young leaders’ event and some mock interviews for potential students.

What do you feel were the positive outcomes for the pupils?
I think every opportunity gives young people the chance to find out more about the realities of working as an engineer and, for me, it is particularly important that girls get to meet real engineers who happen to be women so that they can start to imagine themselves in a similar role. Fortunately I’ve had very positive feedback from all of the events I have attended, and the comments from pupils show how much they appreciate the time and effort that ambassadors put into them.

What do you feel were the positive outcomes for yourself?
It is great meeting young people and finding out what they think about STEM. It’s important to recognise that not everyone is cut out to be an engineer and also to identify some of the difficulties and barriers that students might face when applying to university. This really helps with the recruitment of new students and in my role as a lecturer to foundation and first year students.

Do you have any tips for future STEM Ambassadors?
Find out as much as you can about an event before you say yes and don’t turn up unprepared. Make sure you have an activity prepared for the students as most young people really enjoy getting involved in something practical. Think back to when you were a student or just setting out on your career and try to remember the things that motivated and excited you then (hopefully they still do!) Speak passionately about these aspects of your subject area and you can’t go wrong!

 

"For me, it is particularly important that girls get to meet real engineers who happen to be women so that they can start to imagine themselves in a similar role."