My name is Rachael and I am interning with the Bath Taps into Science Festival team
My background and passion for science
When I was at school I was always intrigued by science. Despite the lack of any technical equipment, my teachers would always try to make science lessons exciting; from measuring the CO2 production of a plant using an ice cream tub to fracturing a friend’s finger during a bouncing ball elasticity experiment; science and fun are two words that, for me, grew to be associated.
My constant questioning of the world around me lead me to study Biology and Chemistry A-levels. I applied and accepted a place to study Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, during which I undertook a master’s year in industry working for the pharmaceutical company, Eisai Ltd. Here I established ways to test potential drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and I became intrigued by the intricacies of the human brain. Upon returning to University for my final year I changed my degree course to Neuroscience (the study of brains) and so came out with a different degree.
Following University I carried out two years of postgraduate research in Bristol looking more closely at how brain cells communicate with one another. During this time I took on the role of Event Manager and Coordinator for the Pint of Science Festivals in Bristol 2015 and 2016. This involved inviting academics out of the lab to talk about science to the public in a pub!
During Pint of Science and whilst in academia I realised the importance of communication between people (not cells) was what really mattered to me. I got excited by the prospect of scientists communicating their research. I became passionate that everyone should have the opportunity to understand and enjoy science, regardless of their background.
My enthusiasm to spread love for all things science has taken me to the University of Bath where I am now working as a Science Outreach Intern. In this role I work on developing and delivering science workshops and resources for students of all ages with a focus on deprived areas. I also work on co-ordinating the Bath Taps into Science Festival and am super excited for it to be bigger and better in 2017!
What you will be doing over the coming months
In the run up to the Bath Taps into Science Festival in March I am generating excitement for the festival via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am also writing monthly newsletters with festival updates. Alongside this this I am putting together blog posts from attendees of previous festivals providing insights for those keen to get involved.
I will also be developing a science workshop to run during the festival and I am involved in the planning and logistics to ensure the festival runs smoothly. Following the festival I will be involved in evaluation of its impact on student’s attitudes towards studying science.
Things you are looking forward to in the next festival
At the Schools Fair I’m excited to see the variety of people presenting their research; from year 7 & 8 students, researchers at the University to people from industry. I’m looking forward to seeing the students playing with science - because that’s how scientists find new things! I am excited for the students and what they will learn from completing and presenting a project.
At the Family Fair I’m looking forward to the challenge of engaging both students and their parents with research. I’m looking forward to parents behaving like children and getting stuck into all the activities! I’m also excited about potentially having a tweet wall because I’ve never actually seen one.
I cannot wait to see all of our hard work come together so the students can get the most out of this festival as possible. I’m looking forward to evaluating the impact of the festival and understanding whether it has changed student’s opinion of studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.