On Saturday 22nd April, over a hundred 14 and 15 year old girls from across the capital learnt first-hand the excitement of studying science, as part of the University of Roehampton's Class of 2020 initiative.
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Class of 2020, a partnership between Roehampton and BT was developed to enhance the ambitions of young women through the power of education. The scheme involves 175 school girls aged 14 and 15 from 23 different schools across London. The 'Being Human' challenge day, led by Dr Colette Berbesque from the Department of Life Sciences, introduced the young women to a variety of areas in science through talks and hands-on workshops.
Using the University's excellent biomedical, nutrition and sports lab facilities, the girls tested antioxidant contents in food, looked at the microbes on their hands, and assessed their metabolic rates while exercising. They also learned about the effects of psychoactive drugs on the brain and had a hands-on microscopy experience. In addition, the young women attended a talk about the human brain, by Dr Diane Bray, Head of the Department of Psychology.
The event was introduced by Dr Caroline Ross, Head of the Department of Life Sciences, and was supported by an enthusiastic group of academics including postgraduate students, readers, lecturers and professors.
Dr Berbesque commented, "Encouraging young women to take an interest in science and other STEM subjects has never been more important. Giving these girls hands-on experience of experiments will give them a taste of the fascinating work that you can do if you explore a career or education in science.
"The experiments we did today were designed to inspire the girls to question the world around them and make them think about how science impacts all areas of our lives, from the food we eat to the way our bodies and brains work."
Class of 2020 was launched in June 2016 to mark the 175th anniversary of Whitelands College, through which Roehampton has been providing higher education to women longer than any other institution in the UK.
The University has an outstanding range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in its Department of Life Sciences and Department of Psychology, including anthropology, biological and biomedical sciences, nutrition and health, and psychology.
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