Rosalind Franklin Women in STEM Conference for Yr 12 students

Newnham’s annual Rosalind Franklin Women in STEM Conference brings together sixth formers to discuss some of the big scientific issues facing society.

The free annual conference aims to encourage Yr 12 students to confidently engage in academic conversations about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) topics. The 2019 conference was titled ‘Plastic: friend or foe?’ and tackled some of the difficult issues around sustainability.

It’s an enriching opportunity for girls studying STEM subjects to experience Cambridge-style teaching for themselves, to stay in a Cambridge college, and to make new friends. The event is named after Rosalind Franklin, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, and herself a graduate of Newnham College.

As a 2019 attendee said, “I have always intended to go into scientific research, but before attending the conference I didn’t fully recognise the importance of female representation in these fields. However, across the three days I began to understand why it is vital that we be present in these male-dominated areas, where, even after all the progress that has been made in increasing equality, we are still by far the minority. The need for more women in STEM roles goes beyond just the want for diversity and gender parity; when women design new products or services, they bring a different perspective that too often hasn’t been considered before. Lack of female representation may also discourage talented young women from pursuing careers in these fields; girls need to see women in the industry to believe it’s a viable reality for them.”

She added “Overall, it was an invaluable experience that challenged me to reconsider my previous understanding and assumptions… and was a great chance to meet others with similar interests in science and mathematics.” Read her full review of the event.

Taking part

The next conference will be in spring 2020, and places will be advertised closer to the date.

Students should be nominated by their teachers. The following academic and widening participation criteria will be taken into account when awarding places:

  • Current subjects of study
  • A-level predictions
  • Have spent time in local authority care
  • Ever6FSM eligibility
  • POLAR4 postcode – Quintiles 1 or 2
  • Would be the first in their immediate family to go to university
  • Currently in receipt of a full scholarship for schooling (if applicable)