Engineering student Charlotte Kerr is full of ideas about how to encourage girls to study STEM subjects at school – from building towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows to setting up a girls’ engineering page on Facebook.
Charlotte’s enthusiasm for science has now led to her winning the 2014 WISE Girl award.
Run by the Women in Science and Engineering campaign, the prize recognises and celebrates the achievements of a girl under the age of 18 who has a passion for science, technology, engineering or mathematics and whose outstanding achievements inspire other girls.
Charlotte, 18, received her award from the Princess Royal at a glittering London ceremony last month that marked the 30th anniversary of the WISE campaign.
Charlotte recently graduated from Grantown Grammar School in Grantown on Spey, near Aviemore, and is now studying for an MEng in civil engineering with international studies at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
During her last two years at school she was the only girl in her physics class so she devised a range of initiatives to inspire other girls to study STEM subjects.
She took on a leadership role in her school’s Young Engineers Club, organised spaghetti and marshmallow workshops, set up a Positively Pink Engineering page on Facebook, and did work experience on the A9 dualling project linking Perth and Inverness. “I am not a natural academic but have achieved through hard work, determination and resits,” said Charlotte.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to succeed in science – just someone who likes science. STEM subjects can be interesting and fun. I learned this when we did the spaghetti and marshmallow challenge. Teams build the tallest tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows, a feat which requires good teamwork and the ability to think like a structural engineer.”
The other shortlisted nominees for the award were Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin, Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester; Rebecca Wang, Chesham Grammar School, Buckinghamshire; and Sara Zaidi, Kingsbury High School, north London.
For more information, visit www.wisecampaign.org.uk/about-us/wise-awards
CAPTION: WISE winner: Charlotte Kerr with her WISE Girl award and during a site visit as part of her studies