CareerWISE is a ground breaking new initiative whose aim is to encourage more girls and women to consider and pursue STEM careers through the provision of information on STEM career opportunities and the route into these sectors through valuable work experience and work placements aimed at female school pupils and students currently at college or university.
Emily Williams from Drummond Community High School had her work experience placement in the Scottish Microelectronics Centre during September. At the end of her week with us she wrote the following:
I was working with Dr Adam Stokes in the Scottish Microelectronics Centre (SMC) for a total of five days as a work placement organised by CareerWISE. In my project I aimed to to create an air powered gripper made out of silicone as an example of soft robotics.
I had the opportunity to work with the new rapid prototyping tools (including 3D-printers and laser-cutters). We started my project by 3D printing an Enderman (a character from Minecraft). We then used the same printer to make a mold for a soft- gripper, and we used this mold to cast the gripper in silicone. I discovered that the gripper was not perfect because it was not cured on a level surface. To solve this problem I designed an adjustable platform that Adam kindly insisted on calling the "Emily Williams' levelling table". I used the new laser cutter to make this device out of acrylic and Adam assures me that it will be used by his PhD students.
I've learned a lot about soft robotics and a lot of chemistry on the side (I went to one of Adam’s Bioelectronics lectures!), and I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the new rapid prototyping machines in the SMC. It's been a great week, and I've had lots of fun. Although I'm not sure what I want to do in the future, this has definitely given me an idea of what university is like, and I'm going to need to find out what I want to do so I can come back soon.