Coordinated by STEM Sussex

Fun and Inspiration at STEMfest 2018 launch

Date: May 1, 2018

Fun and Inspiration at STEMfest 2018 launch

Crawley STEMfest was officially launched with a raucous evening of comedy and inspiring talks.

Representatives from local industry and education attended the event at the new Elekta Cornerstone building on the Manor Royal Estate. An innovative space fitting for the launch of a STEMfest looking to inspire the next generation to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers through hands-on workshops, shows and demonstrations throughout May and June.

Crawley STEMfest highlights the STEM careers opportunities in Crawley and surrounding area. Headline sponsor, Gatwick’s Head of Community Engagement, Alison Addy said:

 “We were delighted to sponsor the launch of this year’s STEMfest and were pleased to see such a good attendance from local industry and education representatives. We now look forward to supporting a successful series of STEM events across the programme this summer, including STEM in the Park and the Big Bang Fair.”

Audience members were told to ‘brace themselves, science is coming!’ and indeed it did with Helen Keen. An award winning comedy writer from Radio 4’s Uncaged Monkeys, she took attendees on a tour of the ‘Science of the Game of Thrones. Interested in how science fiction and fantasy inform real life, she hilariously discussed the genetics of dynastic families, and the potential evolution of dragon-like, fire-breathing cows!

But perhaps the best measure of the impact and success of STEMfest was the fascinating presentations from students from St Wilfrid’s Catholic College and Hazelwick School.

The St Wilfrid’s team won the intermediate engineering category of the national Big Bang UK Scientists & Engineers Competition with their project on mind control for a smart home. Inspired by witnessing a family member experiencing immobility, the team made and programmed a headset that could be connected to devices within the home to increase independence.

The Hazelwick students, who were runners up at the Big Bang Competition, undertook a project which explored the use of drones to measure local air pollution. Speaking at the event they said:

“We had no idea that winning the Regionals at the Big Bang Fair South East was only the first step of our journey. We prepared and improved our project for nearly a year and were elated that all our efforts led us to win two awards at the National Finals.”

All the young people were truly excellent ambassadors for not only their schools, but also for Crawley STEMfest itself.

Now in its seventh year, the STEMfest continues to surpass itself. Summarising, Manor Royal BID executive director Steve Sawyer said:

“Crawley STEMfest is not a flash in the pan, it’s growing, reinventing itself and it’s making a difference. I am proud to be a part of it. 2018 is going biggest and the best yet.”

Organised by STEM Sussex, the STEM outreach support department at the University of Brighton, in partnership with Crawley Borough Council and Crawley College.

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The University of Brighton through STEM Sussex will be hosting Crawley STEMfest in partnership with Crawley Borough Council and Crawley College.

STEM Sussex | Crawley Borough Council | Crawley College.