Benenden welcomed several Schools – including Tonbridge, Sutton Valence, Cranbrook and Folkestone School for Girls – to take part in its recent STEM Convention, a day dedicated to promoting STEM subjects through a vibrant programme including guest speakers, student-led presentation carousels and a bustling Science fair.
Overseen by Benenden's devoted and diligent student STEM Ambassadors, the Convention proved a huge success and feedback from students across all participating schools was overwhelmingly positive.
In the morning, students heard from director of outreach and fellow of the Warwick Institute of Engagement at the University of Warwick Professor Kevin Moffat, who delivered a talk on Breathing With Your Brain, showcasing 30 years of academic research experience in dementia, neuroscience and genetics.
Participants then gathered in the Science Atrium to revel in the spoils of the Science Fair, where student run stalls hosted a wealth of information, complemented by colourful displays and fun activities. Split across the Physics Labs and the Weston Lecture Theatre, the first Presentation Carousel was soon underway, where students from the various schools delivered talks on subjects as diverse as bacteria, pollution, AI and lucid dreaming.
After a delicious lunch in the Dining Hall, the Convention returned to the Centenary Hall for its second keynote speech from Dr Laura Mahoney Sanchez, postdoctoral researcher at University College London working at The Francis Crick Institute, who discussed Researching Neurodegeneration and Parkinson's Disease.
The second Presentation Carousel included talks on automotive engineering, black holes and aquaponics, before the Science Fair was opened up for the whole School to browse the exhibits. A third Carousel covered piezoelectric materials, compound pendulums, facial recognition and more, before the Convention settled once again in Centenary Hall for its final keynote speech.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, award-winning space scientist, broadcaster and author with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College, delivered her first talk of the day (with a second delivered in the evening) entitled Am I Made of Stardust?, encouraging her audience to follow their dreams, particularly in STEM fields.
After an extremely eventful and enjoyable day, the Benenden STEM Convention drew to a close with a prize-giving ceremony.