Becoming a STEM Ambassador
Tamma Carel, Director of Imvelo, is a keen volunteer and a STEM ambassador. When she’s not saving hedgehogs or litter picking, she’s making various other contributions to her community. When it comes to sustainability and being a female influencer, Tamma is what she preaches.
Tamma is a walking, talking, Sustainable Development Goal activist. Recently she’s been working on SDGs 4, 5, and 10. The goals focus on Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Reduced Inequalities respectively.
To do that, she has become a STEM Ambassador.
Tamma’s STEM Ambassador Journey
Tamma signed up as a STEM Ambassador in December 2018. She very quickly became an active Ambassador for the North East Hub team, clocking up over 150 hours of volunteering (up to September 2020). Tamma’s first activity was a yearlong mentoring scheme with 2 Y9 girls. She met them once per fortnight to inspire them and help shape their careers.
At the same time, Tamma supported other schools with additional requests. She played a part in primary school careers week, secondary school careers talks and mock interviews. Additionally, she started working with apprentices and interns within her company to help them gain the skills they need.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. A STEM ambassador promotes these subjects to young people (read more).
Tamma has taken part in many activities as part of her STEM Ambassador volunteering to cover a range of topics and areas. It includes mentoring, primary school careers week, secondary school careers talks, mock interviews, assemblies, hands-on practicals and promoting best practices to other Ambassadors. This variety of activities means that she has reached hundreds of young people and teachers alike.
Imvelo’s focus on the environment and wider sustainability means Tamma’s message isn’t about recruitment for her own company. It’s about the bigger picture and getting young people to see that there could and should be a role for them in this type of work if they choose. It’s about raising aspirations and opening the eyes of young people and helping them to see the skills they’ll most likely need in the future.
What is a STEM Ambassador?
The STEM Ambassador programme in the UK is an all-encompassing project with the goal of encouraging young people to pursue jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is run by STEM Learning, a nonprofit company that offers teachers and schools support and resources for STEM education.
The STEM Ambassador initiative combines volunteers with local schools and youth organisations after recruiting and training them from a variety of STEM backgrounds. A STEM cohort may include academics, engineers, researchers, and professionals. To promote STEM education and professions, STEM Ambassadors frequently take part in activities. It includes giving speeches, facilitating workshops, offering mentoring and career counselling, and attending regional and national events.
The programme accepts volunteers who are older than 17 and prepared to dedicate at least one activity per year. Along with getting free instruction, resources, and support, they are also expected to follow the program’s rules and code of behaviour. For its success in encouraging young people around the UK to pursue STEM careers and education, the initiative has received numerous awards and honours.
Benefits of being a STEM Ambassador
Here’s how becoming a STEM ambassador can benefit you:
Having a beneficial influence on youth
You have the chance to encourage young people to seek professions in STEM as a STEM ambassador. You may encourage young people to see the relevance and significance of STEM in their everyday lives and future jobs by sharing your knowledge, abilities, and experiences.
Learning new things
Becoming a STEM Ambassador can help you pick up new skills including teamwork, leadership, and communication. Also, you can expand your knowledge and understanding of STEM fields and businesses, which will benefit both your personal and professional development.
Establishing a network
You can make new friends and broaden your professional network by serving as a STEM Ambassador volunteer. Furthermore, you can network with others who share your enthusiasm for science and can introduce you to new opportunities.
Access to resources for training and support
If you are a STEM Ambassador in the UK, you have access to a wealth of training and assistance tools that can help you organise and carry out successful STEM outreach initiatives. Best practices, engagement advice, and new tools and resources to support your job are all things you may learn about.
Recognition and awards
The UK STEM Ambassador programme provides volunteers who have made substantial contributions to STEM education and outreach with a variety of accolades and awards. Your professional profile might be improved and your exposure within the STEM community can be raised thanks to these prizes.
You will have the chance to support the growth of your neighbourhood and the UK workforce. You can assist in the training of the upcoming generation of STEM workers and work to broaden the diversity and inclusivity of STEM areas.
How to become a STEM ambassador
You must complete the following steps in order to become a STEM Ambassador in the UK:
You must be older than 17 and have an interest in STEM fields and occupations to be eligible. Also, you must be prepared to dedicate yourself to at least one STEM activity year.
Sign up online
On the STEM Learning website, you can sign up to become a STEM Ambassador. You will have to enter your name, address, and some fundamental data about your STEM education.
Do a DBS check
You must prove that you are qualified to work with children and vulnerable persons by completing a DBS check because you will be working with children as a STEM Ambassador.
Attend a training session
In order to understand the regulations, processes, and ideal techniques for interacting with children, you must attend a STEM Ambassador training session.
After finishing your training, begin looking for STEM outreach opportunities in your neighbourhood. The STEM Learning website can help you locate nearby schools and organisations in need of STEM Ambassadors.
Plan and execute activities
You can collaborate with nearby institutions of higher learning and nonprofit groups to organise and carry out STEM outreach initiatives. It could be lectures, workshops or career fairs. You can also create your own initiatives and projects to advance STEM-related careers and education.
Register your activities
To keep track of your progress and receive credit for your contributions, you must report your STEM outreach activities on the STEM learning website.
STEM ambassador hubs in the UK
There are several STEM Ambassador hubs in the UK, including:
- STEM Learning: This is the national network of STEM Ambassadors in the UK. STEM Learning provides support, resources, and training to STEM Ambassadors and coordinates the program nationwide.
- STEMNET: This is the largest network of STEM Ambassadors in the UK, with over 30,000 volunteers. STEMNET works with schools and other organizations to deliver STEM outreach activities and programs.
- The Prince’s Trust: This charity works with young people to help them develop skills and confidence to pursue careers in STEM. STEM Ambassadors can volunteer with The Prince’s Trust to support these efforts.
- The Royal Society: This is the UK’s national academy of sciences. The Royal Society supports STEM education and outreach through a range of initiatives, including the STEM Ambassador program.
- The Institute of Physics: This professional organization for physicists in the UK supports STEM education and outreach through a range of programs and resources, including the STEM Ambassador program.
Tamma has worked closely alongside the North East STEM Ambassador Hub and has become an absolute ‘go-to’ Ambassador due to her drive and willingness to support the region.
Imvelo is built around sustainable development goals. Tamma has spent extensive time and consideration tracking the career possibilities available based on these goals. She has mapped her business against them, showing how she is sustainable and ethical and therefore how this can apply to other businesses, including:
- SDG 4 – Quality Education
- SDG 5 – Gender equality
- SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
- SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
Tamma’s dedication in this area has enabled her to develop career talks in each of the various areas. This enables her to allow young people to see a possible career path for themselves as well as the skills they’ll need to develop for that route. Rather than looking at current jobs and careers, Tamma considers what is likely to be needed in the future. An approach with that mindset is to equip young people to move into more sustainable areas of work.
The environmental world is very entwined with STEM, so Tamma wants to encourage young girls to embrace these subjects. So far she has given talks at several schools, including Durham High School for Girls, at Jesmond Primary, at Newcastle University, and in honour of events such as Ada Lovelace Day (2018).
As well as these more public talks, Tamma has acted as a personal mentor to two Year 9 girls at Sacred Heart High School in Fenham. Frankie and Grace met with Tamma every fortnight for 6 months and it’s an experience that all 3 parties found very rewarding (here’s another success story, one that inspired Tamma). Tamma is now mentoring a student from Manchester University via the 1 Million Mentor Network
See Tamma with Frankie and Grace below.
Tamma has been highlighted for her work, in local newspapers, these include 20 Women in STEM to watch in 2018 and The North East Based Women at the Forefront of Promoting STEM. Additionally, Imvelo was awarded the Business and Industry Today ‘Sustainability today company of the year 2019’ which included an award and a press release distributed nationally.
What does STEM mean?
What are the roles of a STEM ambassador?
A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) ambassador is a volunteer who promotes STEM education and careers to young people. Their roles include inspiring and engaging students in STEM activities, sharing their personal experiences in STEM fields, and promoting the importance of STEM education and careers.