STEMgroupphotoAt the end of August, Brasenose College hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Enrichment Residential Programme. The participants were all potential next-generation female scientists from a range of UK state schools in years 11 and 12.

The STEM enrichment programme is the brain child of Linkson Jack, a Brasenose graduate and founder and former CEO of the Social Mobility Foundation: a charity which aims to advance the life prospects of young people from low-income backgrounds. Linkson’s new project aims to tackle under-representation of women on STEM-related degrees such as Engineering, Maths, and Physics. This is an issue not just at Oxford but at many UK universities. The residential completed a year-long pilot initiative.

The enrichment programme comprises was a mix of science and social, with interactive sessions delivered by Physics, Computer Science and Maths female academics mingling with trips to the local ice cream parlour, free time to explore Oxford, film nights (the students voted to watch Harry Potter!) and a quiz. Four current female students helped with the event; Hiba (Medicine), Natalie (Maths), Tori (Biochemistry) and Phoebe (English). They did a fantastic job looking after the group, and provided guidance about Oxford’s application process, helping to make participants feel at ease with the idea of studying at Oxford University.

Simon Smith, Brasenose Senior Tutor, commented: ‘This is a perfect example of study enrichment. It’s exciting to be helping one of our recent graduates deliver an innovative programme to a brilliant group of young people drawn from groups we are trying hard to reach. ’

Linkson Jack added: ‘Information is key for students from under-represented groups to make choices that will enable them to seize opportunities that their academic talent can afford them. The STEM enrichment programme will provide essential information for removing misconceptions among the target group of students about studying for a STEM-related degree as well as studying at Oxford University.’

The students who attended the programme were from Carmel College, Cherwell School, George Green School, Harris Bermondsey Academy, Harris Tottenham Academy, Harrogate Grammar School, King Edward VI Five Ways School, Malton School, North Durham Academy, Plantbrook School, Skipton Girls' High School, St Marylebone CE School, St Thomas More School, Thinking Schools Academy Trust, Twynham School and Woodford County High School for Girls. We hope all the students enjoyed visiting just as much as we did hosting them.