Year eights inspired by female STEM professionals

Pupils from King’s Ely Junior have taken part in a DigiGirlz Day at Microsoft Research, Cambridge

Pupils from King’s Ely Junior have taken part in a DigiGirlz Day at Microsoft Research, Cambridge, where they got to meet numerous female employees to learn about their journeys into the STEM industry

At the event – which has been designed to provide young girls with a better understanding of what a career in STEM is like – one of the King’s Ely teams even won a prize – Best Social Impact – for the product they created.

The girls were given one and a half hours to design and make a prototype product which could aid someone with a disability. They were given a Micro:bit to code on. Once they had completed their prototypes, the students had to give a one-minute presentation about their product to Haiyan Zhang, director of innovation at Microsoft, Cindy Rose, CEO of Microsoft UK, and Richard Potter, CTO at Microsoft. 

The winning product, Smart Foods, was an app to help visually impaired people, which would scan food items and read out what the food was and when its ‘use by’ date was.

The pupils also heard motivating talks from Zhang and Rose, who explained how important it is for young women with an interest in STEM to pursue careers in those fields, including in jobs of the future, such as envisioning experts and empathologists.

Dan Everest, head of computing and digital innovation at King’s Ely Junior, said: “Both our teams received great feedback about their prototype products. The day was a really great experience for the girls.

“Meeting and talking to so many women in the STEM industry was amazing for them and very empowering. I do hope this gives them the inspiration and confidence to consider jobs in the STEM industry.”