Black Isle science enthusiast inspiring new generations at Glasgow Science Center reveals turning point that changed her life as a STEM ambassador.

Emma Woodham, science experience manager at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Raised on the Black Isle and schooled in Muir of Ord and Dingwall, Emma Woodham discovered her passion for science when she was only 11 years old.

Her curiosity was sparked during a highly anticipated visit to Glasgow Science Center on the very week it opened its doors for the first time 21 years ago, where the enthralling nature of science came alive for her.

Following her passion, Emma continued her science education at secondary school and then into University in Aberdeen and eventually a PhD in Glasgow.

Now living her dream job as a science experience manager at Glasgow Science Centre, the place it all began, Emma’s role is to help the world-class education hub in its mission to break down boundaries around STEM subjects, making it accessible to everyone and building. the skills to help people understand and challenge the world around them. She is driven by communicating science ideas to young people and groups in society who may believe that STEM is not “for them” and because of this can be overlooked and left out of important cultural and societal conversations.

Emma said: “When I arrived back from a weekend visiting the Glasgow Science Center all those 21 years ago, I was hooked. I came home, gift shop-bought rubber in hand, ready to spread the word about what an awe-inspiring experience I had enjoyed. I collated a scrap book and proudly told my classmates of all the amazing things I’d seen in this place which was completely unimaginable at the time. Looking back this was the start of it all for me.

“Twenty-one years ago, STEM wasn’t understood to be an important part of our life experiences.

“Science subjects were a part of the curriculum but STEM, and everything it embodies, hadn’t truly been brought to life for me yet.

“When I did decide to continue exploring STEM subjects, I was lucky enough to have had teachers and parents who continued to inspire and encourage me. At school, it was in my chemistry class with Mr Mackay that everything I had first seen at Glasgow Science Center during that fateful trip finally ‘clicked’. The realization that the whole world, every person, every emotion, every cell which makes up every single thing, is science.

“I really am in my dream job. I’m back where it all began, this time with the experience and knowledge to be able to pass on and inspire others to explore life, themselves and their whole world, through a scientific lens.

“I love traveling the country, especially visiting home, and having these conversations with people of all ages and stages, discussing and breaking down complicated theories and notions, empowering them and inspiring our next generation of thinkers, policy makers and innovators.”

Emma has seen “real life” examples of how science can allow people to understand complex issues or events and, conversely, how misinformation can cause harm.

“Science understanding gives people the confidence to query the world around them and everyone has something to benefit from learning about the world. Knowing how the world works, and that your opinion is not only valid but valued, brings new and under-served voices into these conversations, while encouraging them to educate themselves in these matters to make informed decisions, and instil change.

“Science learning is a right and I’m proud to be part of rolling this ethos out across Scotland as part of my role at the Science Centre.

Emma Woodham, science experience manager at the Glasgow Science Centre.
Emma Woodham, science experience manager at the Glasgow Science Centre.

“We believe that the skills learned in STEM subjects, such as challenging, rationalising, testing, adapting, and testing again, are all transferable and give people the tools to make decisions for themselves, and understand their power to change and influence the world around. them.

“STEM shows us that nobody can or ever will know everything, but exploring and discovering, and playing a part in helping find solutions and reasons can be one of life’s great joys.

“We come across people all the time who ‘don’t like maths’ or ‘never did science’, therefore STEM ‘isn’t for them’, but we want to show them that the same skills we use almost every minute of every day without even knowing it are the same as ones we use as scientists.

“I don’t want to think about what my life would be if I hadn’t discovered science that day at Glasgow Science Center 21 years ago. STEM subjects opened my mind and allowed me to understand the stars in the sky, the beauty of evolution, the cars on the road and the planes in the sky.

“Sharing this with others excites me. I want to be that Mr Mackay for someone; I want to create that ‘a-ha’ moment for someone. And you never know that instant could be the one that sparks a thought that could change the world. It sounds dramatic, but that’s the beauty of science, it is simultaneously subtle and all-encompassing.

“Our world is changing fast, and our reliance on STEM subjects for the technology we use to educate and entertain, to progress medicine and so on and so forth, means no one can afford to be left behind.

“My colleagues and I at Glasgow Science Center believe this fervently, and we will continue to break down barriers around STEM education across the country until there is true science education equality. Here’s to the next 21 years of inspiring Scotland’s next innovators with Glasgow Science Center!”

Glasgow Science center is celebrating its 21st year of being at the forefront of science and STEM education.

As a charity, Glasgow Science Center aims to ensure all demographic groups in Scotland have access to science education, doing this through physical exhibits, community learning programs, and online teaching assets for pupils and teachers.

To find out more about Glasgow Science Center visit www.glasgowsciencecentre.org


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