Tricia Lucas-Clarke is a Revalidation Programme Co-ordinator and BAME Employee Resource Group Site Lead. As well as a STEM Ambassador, Tricia is also a, External Duke of Edinburgh Assessor for Skills (Food Tech). In answering the STEM NOW Q&A, she provides sage advice to young people considering a future in STEM...
Who or what first inspired your curiosity in STEM?
TLC: Attending the Big Bang Science Fair and Cambridge Science Festival as a parent and seeing the enjoyment and enthusiasm of my children. Also, the opportunity through my work to make a difference and inspire.
What was your personal journey into STEM, or your chosen field?
TLC: Studying for a teaching qualification and my PGC in Professional Educational Studies (Educational Enquiry) which led me to teaching community learning classes for parents and children in cooking and art - alongside my permanent job. Also, having the opportunity through work to be involved in STEM activities. This in turn, has led me to become an assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, encouraging students to learn how to cook, improving their knowledge and skills.
Have you encountered/overcome any boundaries along your STEM journey?
TLC: I am fortunate to work for a company who actively encourages people to be involved in STEM activities and provides resources, support and training.
What is something you are working on/have worked on that excites you?
TLC: Involvement in the 'Your Future Your Ambition' (YFYA) event, held annually at the Emirates Stadium, which brings together students aged 7 – 23 years, mainly from diverse backgrounds, with companies and organisations who understand the value of a varied workforce. The students engage in exciting and inspiring workshops, activities and mentoring. As well as having access to people involved in STEM roles keen to talk to them about their career aspirations. I have led a cross company team for 2 years and it has been a pleasure to inspire the next generation.
What has been your most memorable moment as a STEM Ambassador and why?
TLC: The most memorable moment is when school children who may not want to be at a STEM event, have the opportunity to do some hands on activities and become engaged and start asking questions. They realise that STEM can be for everybody, including them.
Why is it important that young people are introduced to STEM?
TLC: It gives them the opportunity to take part in activities that are not school lessons, run by people who have a passion for what they do and are not their school teachers or parents. They can give activities a go and no-one is judging them.
What advice would you give a young person considering a future in STEM?
TLC: Keep and open mind, give things a try. Do not be put off by failure or if things don't work out as planned. Keep trying, broaden your knowledge and talk to any STEM Ambassadors you come across, they won't judge you on your knowledge and will be pleased you are interested in finding out more.
Why is diversity and inclusion in STEM fields important?
TLC: Historically, some STEM careers have not been seen as roles for people from diverse backgrounds. Events such as the 'Your Future, Your Ambition' (YFYA) shows that this is not the case and gives students to see people "like them" in a variety of roles. Also, diversity needs to come from a wide range of people to ensure creativity of thinking.
What are your hopes for the future of STEM?
TLC: That it will keep on growing, so all students can access STEM ambassadors throughout their school life, starting at a young age to capture their interest.