2020 was always set to be a momentous year for Lucy, who had planned to marry her fiancé in a ceremony in July. Of course, the coronavirus crisis unfortunately unpicked her plans and presented her with a whole new set of challenges. Lucy tells us how GSK’s STEM education programmes are working to support teachers and empower young people to discover STEM and their career path through the coronavirus crisis and beyond.
When did your passion for STEM education begin?
I’ve been at GSK for four years and have been on the STEM Education team for just over two of those. Previously I did a sponsored degree, so I was working for a company who covered my tuition fees and paid me a salary, meaning I could graduate with zero student debt whilst starting my professional career from day one. But I very easily could have never known that opportunity existed! It just so happened that my mum read a newspaper article on sponsored degrees.
That’s where my passion has come from; I want to ensure that young people are given lots of opportunities and are informed enough to know that they don’t have to just go into university or go straight into a career – there are apprenticeships for leavers, there is university if that’s the right option for you – but also there are so many other different things out there. I also want to show young people the range of opportunities and careers that STEM can bring – it’s not just about wearing a lab coat. It’s about being as informed as you can be about your career choices.
What are you working on at the moment?
Before COVID, we were working on redeveloping our STEM Education website; we have a large number of resources for teachers, providing lesson plans, student worksheets and guidance for leading STEM-centered workshops. However, we’ve recognised the need for resources that are targeted directly at students to support their learning at school and at home.
As a result, we’re now developing a dedicated student zone on our STEMeducation website, which features a range of online quizzes and interactive games. We’re hoping the student zone will engage students and reach them directly, encouraging them with home learning, and through working with our partners and other STEM programmes, build the STEM experiences and knowledge (STEM capital) of young people across the UK.
What is something surprising about your role?
The variety of skills that I have to apply – I might be managing an event with 80,000 attendees, designing materials for our 450+ STEM ambassadors or making an animation for social media, through to working closely with our impactful charities and copywriting for campaigns. Having a supportive team has helped so much when it’s busy. We have a mutual trust that I appreciate and has been great while everyone has worked remotely.
What motivates you every day?
Scientists at GSK are positively impacting the lives of patients all the time but, while I’m not a scientist, what’s so rewarding in my role is that I’m supporting educators, students and charities to inspire the young people who will be the STEM innovators of the future.
First published for World Teachers' Day on GSK.com here.