GenerationeXt at Roche
Mrs A. Langley, Teacher of Science, writes:
On Friday 16th November, Roche in Welwyn Garden City threw open their doors for 6th form STEM students. Four intrepid Stanborough science students went to see what it was about. GenerationeXt opened with a fascinating welcome address from Stephen McGann, star of Call the Midwife and famed science communicator. Our students got a lot out of his talk about how the arts and sciences are interrelated.
Next, the Army, Navy and RAF led a workshop based on engineering. Teams had to create a cable car to transport much needed supplies to areas of Nepal devastated by an earthquake using massive mechano sets. The catch? There were three groups, each designing one component, and none of the groups could see each other. Sophie took charge of her group, and led them well in designing a great cable car tower. As the groups came together, the room was full of anticipation as we waited to see if each group had successfully designed a cable car system to work together. After a few disappointing attempts, they were successful once they applied the parallelogram of forces to the problem. This workshop was rounded off by an excellent Q&A session from the Armed Forces personnel about careers.
A maths workshop was our next stop, where maths was shown in context of clinical trials. Our 6th formers were both clinical trial patients and the scientists conducting the tests. Once the tests were done, they had to create a talk to present to all the other schools participating about what they found out. Allyna bravely took on the role of presenter, and wowed the crowd with the group’s excellent analysis. This session brought up lots of discussion about clinical trials, and all the various jobs involved in bringing a drug from a molecule to being safe for human use.
During lunch we were joined by lots of Roche employees giving our sixth formers lots of opportunities to talk to them about their jobs and find out all about the different careers available to them in STEM.
After lunch was an exciting careers workshop. First was a CV workshop, where the aim was to create the best CV for a person applying for a STEM job and to present it to actual working recruiters. Next, Stephen McGann appeared and led a presentation skills workshop. Everyone was given two minutes to prepare a one minute talk on a science topic of their choice and then present it to a room full of people they did not know. Adrenaline was pumping as presentations were made and Stephen McGann critiqued the presentations.
The final workshop of the day was all about the use of technology in medicine. Dr Shah Ahmed, the doctor who operated live on Channel 5, had brought along his augmented reality equipment. It was fascinating to put on a headset and watch as a skeleton appears before you, slowly filling with veins, arteries, nerves and muscles. Best of all, it looked so real, as if you could touch it, and as you moved around it you could see all angles of it. The applications for this technology are amazing! We used virtual reality equipment that could be used by surgeons to train in new procedures, and everyone got to have a go operating on their virtual patient. There was finally augmented reality and virtual reality fused together, bringing to life a full operating theatre and the patient perspective. The applications of these technologies, not just in medicine and education but in lots of other fields, are very exciting.
Our day at GenerationeXt ended with a keynote address from Shalom Lloyd, founder of Naturally Tribal Skincare and TEDx speaker. Her key takeaways from the day were to maximise every opportunity, never be afraid to make mistakes, and to be kind and pay it forward.
Everyone got a lot out of the day, not only some useful careers advice but also an excellent vision for the future. Our thanks go to Roche for organising such a fantastic event.