Students from several local schools – including Sutton Valence, Tonbridge, Claremont and Judd – joined Benenden for a fantastic conference organised by the STEM Department in conjunction with the student STEM Ambassadors.
With a focus on Sustainability and the Future, the conference brought in industry professionals from a range of STEM related fields to inspire visitors with the latest ideas, pathways and innovations.
The conference began with a Design and Technology exhibit and Careers fair in the Science Centre that featured representatives from the NHS, InvestIN, Tony Gee and Pfizer. Guests then gathered in the Centenary Hall where Headmistress Samantha Price gave an opening address emphasising the crucial role that STEM subjects and industries will play in securing our future.
The STEM Ambassadors then introduced the first speakers of the conference – Kevin Cairney, Deputy National Director for Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC), and Dan Barnwall, Associate Director in the UEC Operations team at NHS England.
The guests then dispersed for the first carousel of the day, featuring student presentations on a range of topics from hypervelocity stars to lithium batteries to nanoparticle-based inhalers.
A whole-School Science fair took place across the Science Centre and Centenary Hall over lunch, showcasing a huge breadth of different STEM-related stalls and activities. Guests then reconvened in the Centenary Hall for the second talk of the day – Imagining the Beginnings of Life – in which Professor Timothy Saunders’ history-spanning lecture touched on the importance of maths and coding concepts to modern biology.
A second carousel included presentations on superconductors, flavonoid soaps and earthquake resistant buildings among other things.
A final talk was given by world-renowned quantity surveyor Lola Olatunji, entitled The Challenge of Climate Change: Future Opportunities for Innovation. Highlighting bold new ways of mitigating the issues posed by climate change across a range of fields, the talk gave an inspiring look at what a more sustainable future might look like in practical terms.
A final address and prizegiving ceremony signalled the end of what was a highly engaging and informative conference.