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13 May 2024

King's scientists nurture young STEM talent with In2scienceUK

Researchers will help light a STEM-coloured spark through a real-life research placement for 16-19-year-olds.

JL_NMES Open Day-100

Researchers from across the Faculty of Natural, Mathematical and Engineering Sciences will be breaking down barriers by inviting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the lab this summer for a two-week placement.

Working with In2scienceUK, a charity that promotes social mobility by unlocking the STEM potential of young people from low-income backgrounds, scientists from the departments of Engineering, Mathematics and Physics will mentor a total of 16 teenagers through the flagship In2STEM programme.

In King’s Strand Campus, Drs Damián Galante, Michael Berthaume, and Professor Chris Lorenz, will help students explore counter-intuitive facts about gravity using maths, investigate the physics of biological molecules using powerful computer simulations of them and analyse how people across the world use and break foot prosthetics differently to improve their design.

I believe diversity is an important aspect on generating new knowledge and activities like this, in the long run, might create the impact needed for groundbreaking discoveries in science."

Dr Damián Galante

Many of those involved in the scheme see it as a way to open the door to a more diverse future for STEM and help bright young talent to start out on a career path they believed closed off to them, while also allowing research to pull in a broad range of experiences which might lay the foundations for groundbreaking discoveries in science.

Explaining why he offered places to eight young scientists in his lab, Dr Berthaume said that the opportunity to give back is what motivated him. “I believe part of my job is to inspire the next generation of thinkers. When I was an undergrad, my advisor secured funding for an undergraduate research opportunity for me, which allowed me to work for him over the summer. That project changed my life, and I proceeded to get my PhD in mechanical engineering under this professor. Without that opportunity I would not be where I am today. I think it is important that we offer similar opportunities to students, today.”

By offering students a place in a leading research institution like King’s, the researchers hope to give students the tools to pursue their interest in science and succeed in their future careers, as well as a base of support.

When I was an undergrad, my advisor secured funding for an undergraduate research opportunity for me. [...] Without that opportunity I would not be where I am today. I think it is important that we offer similar opportunities to students, today."

Dr Michael Berthaume

By offering students a place in a leading research institution like King’s, the researchers hope to give students the tools to pursue their interest in science and succeed in their future careers, as well as a base of support.

Professor Chris Lorenz said, “I hope that the students have fun working in a research environment at a world-leading university like King’s alongside enthusiastic researchers in the lab. We have hosted students from In2STEM in the past and I am very grateful that my PhD student and I have stayed in touch with the students we hosted as they have progressed through university and who recently graduated. We were able to provide them with mentorship that started while they were in our group but has continued until this day.”

In this story

Damián Galante

Lecturer in Theoretical Physics and Stephen Hawking Research Fellow

Michael Berthaume

Reader in Engineering

Chris Lorenz

Chair of Faculty Computing Committee