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St Mary’s Encourages Young Women into Physics

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The School of Sport, Health and Applied Science (SHAS) at St Mary’s University, Twickenham aims to encourage young women to get into physics with taster sessions for students in Years 9 to 12. The Women in Physics taster sessions are organised by Applied Physics Lecturer Dr Elisabetta Canetta and Senior Recruitment Officer for Widening Participation Alasdair Robertson, and are held at the University’s Strawberry Hill campus. The first session, which took place last month, was targeted towards Year 12 students while the following events, scheduled for next year, will focus on students in Years 9, 10 and 11. The purpose of the session was to encourage female students to have the confidence to follow careers in physics with a focus on the fact that being a woman should not hinder your success. Dr Canetta introduced the event with an interactive lecture entitled Careers in Physics for women: How to have a successful career in Physics, in which the students learnt more about the different careers that stem from physics and also about some of the female physicists whose discoveries helped to shape our modern society. During the three hour event, students conducted experiments with staff and students from St Mary’s undergraduate Applied Physics programme and had the opportunity to ask female students from the course about careers in physics. Dr Canetta said, “It was fabulous to see the enthusiasm and engagement of the Year 12 girls with physics. They showed a deep and keen interest in the subject. In particular, during the Question & Answer session with some of our Applied Physics undergraduate female students, the Year 12 girls asked very thoughtful and interesting questions about what it means to study physics at the University and what pushed the students to study physics. The event was a success and we are now planning to run some more Year 12 events along with the already scheduled Years 9, 10 and 11 events.” The taster sessions form part of a wider STEM initiative by Dr Canetta to get more women into physics, which she explores in Women in Physics: A High Challenge for a High Reward. The next Women in Physics session is in February for Year 10 and 11 students. For more information, please contact Dr Canetta at
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