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STEMgirls Club: providing the missing link between school and university

Amy Ryman is the founder of STEMgirls Club, a business that provides opportunities for girls to explore STEM careers through weekly engaging and fun challenges. As the Head of Science at a South London comprehensive, Amy became aware that few girls were choosing to pursue extra-curricular STEM activities in comparison to boys. To help address this, she created STEMgirls Club and began a fruitful collaboration with King’s, working with students to engage girls in STEM topics in the classroom.

Amy Ryman

Amy Ryman, Founder of STEMgirls Club, explains:

STEMgirls Club is an after-school girls-only club with the primary objective of exposing girls to STEM careers through project work. Girls can work on a wide range of projects, including biotechnology and space exploration, and carry out experiments like making cosmetics to designing and coding equipment for the visually impaired.

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The club has provided lots of opportunities for pupils to meet women in STEM through networking events. Despite this, there’s always remained a stubborn missing link between studying science at school to knowing how to translate that into a career.

When I first started the club, there was an issue with the uptake of physics by girls at A level. I researched this further and learned my school wasn’t alone; it was a nationwide issue. Research carried out by WISE shows that the whole pipeline from pupil to STEM career is leaky, with a small minority of women choosing STEM careers and then those numbers getting siphoned off the further you look along the career ladder.

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For the past couple of years, students from King’s have worked with STEMgirls Club to lead workshops in a number of schools on projects they have prepared. The science is important, but the key to the collaboration is that pupils get to know the university students and see that they are ‘people’ like them. It reinforces that STEM degrees are within their grasp and helps them think about what a career in STEM could look like.

The pupils have absolutely loved the King’s element of the club, and many have formed strong networks with the students who have offered support for their WEX and UCAS applications in the future. Visiting King’s offers an incredible opportunity for them to experience the culture of a university – from being able to see the labs and the libraries, as well as the all-important canteen!

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I would love to form new links with a range of departments across King’s, as well as with other universities to be able to offer more schools and students the chance to get to know and work alongside undergrads in their home and school environment.

If there are any students, researchers or technicians reading this that are eager to get involved, please get in touch. We have a range of activities, such as speed networking events, work experience schemes, or more long-term projects like the one we’re currently doing with King’s, that I would be keen to speak to you about.

Take a look at our website, or contact me on

Case study: Inspiring science in the classroom at Prendergast School

Prendergast School visit

As part of the King’s and STEMgirls Club partnership, two students and one researcher recently visited Prendergast School in South East London to deliver presentations to a class of over 20 girls, led by science teacher Juliet Agyepong.

Juliet introduced Tiarna Lee, Nicola Allen and Fulye Argunhan to the pupils, who were all keen to hear from them about what being a scientist entails, their areas of research, and career prospects.

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Tiarna, a PhD student based in the School of Biomedical & Imaging Sciences, kicked things off by discussing her research exploring biases in medical Artificial Intelligence used for cardiac imaging. She explained how datasets used to train AI are often imbalanced in terms of subject demographics, meaning that AI has a better performance for the overrepresented groups, and worse performance for underrepresented groups.

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Tiarna was followed by Nicola, a third year MSci Pharmacology student, who spoke to the students about her early interest in science at school and how this developed into a full-blown passion over time. Nicola was keen to emphasise the importance of embracing extra-curricular activities as a student and described her time leading TEDx events at her school as a fantastic way to network and exercise different skillsets, as well as allowing a break from her studies.

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Last but not least was Fulye, a postdoctoral research associate based in the School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine & Sciences. As part of her career in academia, Fulye explained how she works with experimental mice – a fact that surprised and fascinated the pupils, prompting a dynamic discussion around the ethics and value of using mice. It was pointed out that carrying out experiments on mice beforehand prevents up to 10 times as many humans suffering adverse effects in clinical trials, and that some research projects need to assimilate what happens in a dynamic fluid system rather than in static cells due to the nature of the circulatory system. 

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