Category Archives: Diversity

04Jun/18

SEPnet looking for Case Studies for LGBTSTEM Day

Here at SEPnet we continue to celebrate and embrace diversity across physics. We also want to continue to support initiatives the aim to raise awareness, such as the upcoming LGBTSTEM Day on Thursday 5 July. This day will help raise awareness of LGBT+ people in STEM subjects.

SEPnet has partnered with LGBTSTEM to showcase LGBT+ people working across all our physics departments through a series of case studies that will be featured on both the SEPnet and LGBTSTEM website. We are looking for LGBT+ people who want to share their stories through a very short questionnaire. If you are interested in adding your story, please complete the questionnaire and return to d.galliano@qmul.ac.uk, together with a photograph of yourself looking your very best, either in the lab or out and about!

Deadline for questionnaires is 17:00 on Friday 29 June. The case studies will launch on LGBTSTEM Day. On the day, feel free to join the celebrations across the UK & Ireland and join the conversation on Twitter with #LGBTSTEMDay.

08Mar/18

SEPnet celebrates Women’s International Day!

SEPnet continues to celebrate the achievements of female physicists and encourage young women to pursue careers with physics through its outreach and employability programmes.

While only 20% of physics students are female, 30% of students attending SEPnet and GRADnet events are female and 40% of summer placements are secured by female physics students. Role models and case studies are important sources of inspiration and you can read about some of our successful alumni and placement students on our website.

All SEPnet partners are signed up to Project Juno and Athena SWAN to support gender equality and women’s career progression with 3 partners achieving Champion status to date. SEPnet partners share good practice through SEPnet’s diversity workshops and E&D Champions LinkedIn group. SEPnet and IOP’s successful joint careers panel for female physicists has led to the creation of the SEPnet Careers Forum for Female Physicists, a supportive group, where students and female physicists in business and academia can share issues related to women’s progression in the workplace.

Through its Outreach & Public Engagement programme, SEPnet continues to explore innovative projects that tackle Gender Stereotyping in Schools. The results of our pilot project, Shattering Stereotypes, are available on our website, including twelve recommendations for other physics departments who are looking to run similar projects. SEPnet will be using this learning to run the project in the 2018 / 19 academic year. If your school is interested please do get in touch with the outreach and public engagement team.

16Feb/18

SEPnet launches Shattering Stereotypes Evaluation Report

During the 2016/17 academic year, SEPnet Outreach & Public Engagement has been piloting a project determining the best role Physics Outreach Officers can play in tackling and improving the gender stereotyping problem in schools.

This was the first SEPnet-wide project which involved building a direct partnership with a set of schools to deliver a programme of activity over an academic year. The pilot was a first step, so the priority for the evaluation was on logistics over impact of the project, though both were considered. The evaluation was carried out by Elizabeth Jeavans and Sarah Jenkins. The full report can be found here.

Overall the project delivered a programme which led to positive experiences across all stakeholders:

  • Year 8 Studentsfollowing their involvement in Shattering Stereotypes, they now view future opportunities as not being constrained by stereotypical perceptions of gender.
  • Year 12 Studentsdeveloped transferable leadership and communication skills through their participation in the communications challenge.
  • Teachersvalued external visits and having resources from universities.
  • Schools – In some schools, the pilot project raised awareness of gender stereotyping across their entire schools
  • Outreach Officers welcomed the opportunity provided by the project to work as part of a team and to be involved in building up a relationship with schools, as opposed to one-off activities.

This gives the project a fantastic base to evolve and grow from in future years. However the project did highlight some areas where further development is needed. Most of these were themed around the following areas:

  • Message. Throughout the project there was some confusion about whether primary purpose of Shattering Stereotypes was to address/ reduce gender stereotyping or to equalise the gender balance in physics through greater understanding of physics career opportunities.

    This was the tension the project team struggled with from the development of the project. The idea was to address / reduce gender stereotyping, but the strength of SEPnet’s experiences in School’s Outreach shifted this towards equalising the gender balance in physics, especially in the earlier workshops.
  • Logistics and Partnership. Throughout the project there were some logistical challengers in booking the Shattering Stereotypes activities. There was also a lack of connectivity across the activities and support between said activities.

    This was due to its nature as a pilot project. It was the first time SEPnet has both worked in the realm of Gender Stereotyping and in the format of delivering activity throughout the year. This together with the large workloads and busy environments in schools led to some workshops being missed at some schools and a lot of last minute work being carried out by Officers and Teachers.

A summary of experiences and outcomes, along with opportunities from development can be found here.

The report also issued a list of twelve recommendations, all of which we taking into account as we develop the project for the 2018/19 Academic Year.

The project team would like to give a massive thanks to all the teachers who partnered with us on the pilot project. Their input and time has been invaluable and has a great impact in how we continue to develop and deliver this project, and many others across SEPnet Outreach.

The project team would also like to thank:

  • Elizabeth and Sarah for their contribution and insights throughout the process.
  • All the physics role models from activity two, who took time from their busy schedules to attend events.
  • The Year 12 students who took part, most of whom are currently in the process of applying for University. The team wishes them good luck in your future careers.
  • All the Year 8 students who participated in the pilot project. Their enthusiasm for the subject matter was apparent from day one of the project. They constantly surprised us, challenged us and pushed us to do better. The team hopes they all remain staunch champions and continue to challenge gender stereotyping wherever they see it.

The schools who participated in the pilot project where:

SEPnet will be running the project through the 2018/2019 academic year.

If your school is interested in joining the project as a partner, please e-mail the Director of Outreach & Public Engagement outreach@sepnet.ac.uk. At the moment SEPnet is looking for state-funded, mixed-gender schools for this project.

Further details on the project will be available in Mid-March 2018.

08Mar/17

SEPnet Outreach highlights the importance of Shattering Stereotypes on International Women’s Day.

This International Women’s Day, SEPnet Outreach is launching their Shattering Stereotypes Careers Evenings and Physics Graduate Case Studies resources. Across our Shattering Stereotypes Schools we will be holding networking sessions between Year 8 students, their parents and a variety of physics graduates of all genders who have gone to have amazing careers in business, industry and other sectors showing the breadth of opportunities available to them.

Students will be encouraged to look beyond gender and pick graduates they would like to network with based on their and the graduates Type of Scientist (previously developed for SEPnet / WISE’s People Like Me resource).

The evenings will also have a short talk highlighting the issues of Gender Stereotyping and Unconscious Bias. Gender Stereotyping in an issue which affects people of all genders at school. It has an influence on subject choices at GCSEs, which leads to fewer girls taking A-Level physics and therefore also at university. Additionally it affects boys taking up other subjects seen as more traditional girl subjects such as English and psychology. (See Closing Doors / Opening Doors reports by IOP).

If you would like to use these graduates as Case Studies in your own classroom or outreach activities, you can download the set here. The physics graduates in this set span gender, ethnicity, sexuality, career type and type of scientist. They have been developed to showcase the sheer variety of opportunities physics can open up. This could help embed STEM careers in science lessons, break the science = scientist link and help build science capital with students and their parents. (See Aspires Report)

If you studied physics at university and would like to take part in the project, please sign up here. If you can’t make one of our events, we are looking to expand the set of Case Studies and especially include graduates who identify as female and are also from an ethnic minority, so that we can explore issues around intersectionality in future workshops.

The Shattering Stereotypes pilot project is investigating how the SEPnet Outreach can help raise awareness of Gender Stereotyping in schools. The pilot project is taking place across five schools:

An evaluation report will be made available towards the end of 2017.

If you would like more information on the project, please do get in touch.

02Feb/17

Shattering Stereotypes is looking for Physics graduates in the South East!

Who are we looking for?
As part of our Shattering Stereotypes project, we are looking for Physics graduates in the South East area who have had all sorts of careers since graduating. As part of the project we are hosting a careers evening at our five partner schools. To make these evenings successful, we need you!

If you’re now working in anything from finance to accountancy, or working in the energy sector to those in healthcare or government, SEPnet needs your help! We are looking for Physics graduates from diverse backgrounds, across all ethnicities, genders and sexuality.

What would you need to do?
Sign up to help at one or more of our careers evenings. They are located around London, with one school in Guildford. The entire evening, which will include training from one of our SEPnet Outreach Officers, will only last around two hours. We are hoping to run the evenings as one-on-one sessions between you, the students and their parents / carers. This way they can ask you individual questions about the type of work you do and the type of scientist you are.

What are different types of Scientist?
As part of the project, we are introducing the term scientist to include all those who studied science at university. This includes you. In particular we are introducing students to the 12 Types of Scientists. These were introduced in a previous project from SEPnet and WISE called People Like Me. We are looking to match with students who have similar types to you.

When are the careers evenings taking place?

Monday 6 March, Overton Grange, Sutton.

Thursday 9 March, St Peter’s School, Guildford.

Monday 20 March, Lampton Academy, Hounslow.

Thursday 30 March, Preston Manor, Brent.

Thursday 9 May, Charles Darwin School, Biggin Hill.

What if I can’t make any of the sessions?
We are more than happy to let you know about future Shattering Stereotypes events where you can help.

We would also like to feature some Case Studies on our websites and posters, so even if you can’t make it, you can still help us out!

Will this make a difference?
Shattering Stereotypes is a pilot project that is being externally evaluated including measuring what messages students are getting from the project. We would be more than happy to share our final report with you towards the end of 2017. Be a part of this innovative project and help us find out what messages work.

What next?
Sign up here and forward this page to any of your Physics graduates friends who may also be interested.

More details about Shattering Stereotypes can be found here.
Any additional questions, please e-mail outreach@sepnet.ac.uk.

06Dec/16

SEPnet Sponsors LGBT+ STEMinar

img_0107SEPnet is proud to announce it is now a Bronze Sponsor of the 2nd annual UK-wide LGBT+ STEMinar.

The conference is for people who work or study in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and identify as LGBT+. The day will showcase work from diverse fields and encourage collaborations between different departments, Universities, companies and subjects. Those who may not identify as LGBT+ but wish to discover and support the work that LGBT+ people are doing are also very welcome.

Registration for the 2017 conference in Sheffield is open until Friday 16 December. https://lgbtstem.wordpress.com/lgbt-steminar-2017/

The IOP is also offering travel bursaries to their PhD / first year postdoc members who are registered to attend. E-mail LGBTphysastro@iop.org for more details.

This conference is a fantastic opportunity to meet other LGBT+ scientists and a get a wider perspective of STEM beyond your own research.

Image from last year’s conference taken by Claire Brand.

25Nov/16

SEPnet launches Shattering Stereotypes

Shattering Stereotypes is an innovative pilot project investigating how Physics Outreach Officers can help shatter gender stereotypes found in schools.

Shattering Stereotypes will start dialogue and debate with over 400 Year 8 students across the South East. SEPnet Outreach Officers will deliver three activities across the year with Year 12 physics and science students from the participating schools.

These activities include:

  • An introductory workshop introducing the idea of gender stereotyping and how it can have an effect on GCSE and A-Level subject choice and therefore future careers.
  • A STEM careers evening for Year 8 students and their parents featuring role models from across all the different types of scientists showcasing how different types of people can succeed in STEM, regardless of gender.
  • A final extended project where we will ask the Year 8 students to get creative and present their views and opinions on gender stereotyping and how it has an effect on them and their school. We will encourage the students to consider all sorts of ideas for the project!

With these three activities we hope to kick start a school-wide discussion on Gender Stereotyping and how it can be tackled.

The participating schools include:

The SEPnet team is excited to work across these schools and hopes each of them will give an interesting case study on this pilot project.

The project has been developed in consultation with the Institute of Physics’ Gender Balance team and based on the findings of Closing Doors and the recommendations outlined in Opening Doors. The first workshop also includes part of the highly successful People Like Me workshop developed by SEPnet and WISE.

The project is being fully evaluated by an experienced team led by Elizabeth Jeavans. A full report on the pilot project will be available in late 2017 / early 2018. If you would like to keep up to date and be informed of progress, please e-mail us and you will be added to the Shattering Stereotypes Mailing List.

If you are a Physics Outreach Officer or a mixed-gender secondary state school and would like to take part in a potential second year of the project, starting in September 2017, please do get in touch

18Oct/16

SEPnet’s Averil MacDonald receives ‘Starting Out Award’

At a reception held at the Guildhall in London held on 17th October 2016, Professor Averil MacDonald OBE, SEPnet’s Diversity and Impact Champion, received the ‘Starting Out Award’  from the Women’s Business Council.
159A3289The award recognises Prof MacDonald for her work inspiring the next generation to take up careers in STEM including the People Like Me project sponsored by Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).

Professor MacDonald has a long standing commitment to encouraging women into careers in Science and Engineering. She has been a role model and has pursued innovative ways of reaching out to girls at an early age to overcome the barriers to gaining STEM qualifications and taking up STEM careers.

In 2015 Professor MacDonald was awarded an OBE for her work in promoting Women in Science and Engineering.

See a People Like Me session with girls at the WISE conference in London on 10 November. Hurry to register before tickets run out:  https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/conference/wise-conference-2016

12Aug/16

University of Sussex take Physics to Pride!

The University of Sussex in partnership with the SEPnet Outreach team ran a Physics stall as part of the Brighton Pride celebrations. Many of those attending were surprised and delighted to find a little bit of Physics in between the varied community stalls representing the LGBT+ community.

Photo 08Photo 05

Photo 04There was something for everyone, from surprising Physics tricks, such as  “Amazing Marshmallows” and “Balloon Kebabs”, to solar telescopes showing some beautiful flare activity throughout the day. Those visiting the stall enjoyed their small taste of Physics many saying they had changed their view on Physics that they had had since their school lessons many years before. Continue reading

02Jun/16

Innovate UK launches the infocus Awards for Women In Innovation

Innovate UK launches the infocus Awards for Women In Innovation 

Innovate UK has up to £200,000 and a package of tailored support to award to businesswomen who have exciting ideas and the potential to become leaders in innovation and deliver significant economic growth. This is the first women only Innovate UK competition and is part of a new ‘infocus’ initiative to encourage diversity in innovation. Each of the 12 finalists in the competition will receive a package of support tailored to their needs, and the four winners will each receive £50,000 to support their innovation project or activities.

The competition opened on 1 June 2016 and the deadline for registration is noon on 24 August 2016. The awards are open to any woman in the UK working in business innovation in any of Innovate UK’s four sectors. Applicants can be a company owner, employee or sole trader in any size of business and must be legally and contractually able to use the grant funding on offer. A briefing for potential applicants will be held by Innovate UK on 20 June 2016. Find out more about this competition and apply