Summer schools give budding scientists a head start
Headstart is a charitable trust that provides hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities and engineering taster courses to encourage young people into technology-based careers. Last week our Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and our Department of Physics and Astronomy each hosted a Headstart Focus Course, a one-week residential school for talented 17-year-old students.
Each day of the i-Science Summer School was themed, drawing on University of Leicester research, teaching and outreach expertise in a range of disciplines including sustainability, forensics, nanotechnology, planetary science, genetics and astrobiology. Students and staff who contributed to the summer schools included undergraduates, researchers and lecturers from Interdisciplinary Science and the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Genetics.
The 28 year-12 students attended several lectures, ‘hands-on’ workshops, and evening games and activities plus a visit to the National Space Centre which included a masterclass and a planetarium session. They also participated in a project, which they presented to their fellow students and a panel of judges. Students had the opportunity to hear and speak to recent University of Leicester graduates and also heard from a representative of the EDT Year in Industry placement scheme.
Some of the activities were shared with 40 students who attended the Headstart Physics Summer School. The aspiring physicists visited local engineering research firm Magna Parva, built and launched two-stage rockets, calibrated cameras and analysed asteroid craters, experimented with the speed of sound and looked into telescope structures.
Feedback from both the attending students and Headstart staff was very positive, making both Summer Schools a great success.