Victoria improves her communication skills and self-confidence during internship with WISE
Victoria Jeffery was hoping to have the opportunity to inspire more young girls to consider Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths as a career option, alongside improving a variety of skills, including science communication and public engagement. An internship with WISE who run a campaign for gender balance in science, technology and engineering, gave Victoria the opportunity to do this as a role model and WISE staff member at a variety of events.
Victoria’s internship took place from September to December 2015 and involved several objectives. WISE had just launched new resources, People Like Me and Victoria was responsible for helping in the rolling out of this project. Victoria helped the project manager in the initial planning for events and promoting the project to schools and outreach providers. Victoria was responsible for finding and organising venues for People Like Me training events for teachers and STEM ambassadors and was successful in organising 3 training events for more than 100 individuals across the UK. Victoria then created a marketing strategy in order to promote these events, which was implemented during her internship and continued following handover. This included attending events to promote the training, emailing individual members of WISE (newsletters and specific mailings), social media posts, updates of the WISE website and obtaining blogs from role models following events. Victoria also gave a talk at a STEM networking event about the People Like Me project, which was to a diverse audience and was a great success.
An additional objective was to assist in the running of WISE’s annual conference and awards ceremony, held in London and attended by the patron of the campaign, HRH the Princess Royal. WISE is a small team, and the conference and awards were attended by 350 and 450 individuals respectively. Victoria was responsible for a variety of different tasks, including obtaining complete details for all 450 guests attending the awards dinner, as required by Royal Protocol, checking presentations and award engravings to ensure the correct winners were announced at the ceremony and providing support during the evening of the ceremony itself.
A further objective was to promote additional upcoming STEM events held by WISE and other partner organisations, including a Knowledge Sharing Event – How to Engage Girls in STEM, held at RAF Cranwell where WISE corporate and organisational members meet and share ideas from their outreach programmes. Victoria also supported these events by identifying appropriate role models and liaising with them to arrange their attendance.
As a result of the internship Victoria developed her skills in communicating science to a variety of different audiences, both orally and in writing; “My writing skills were improved in writing blogs for the website, as well as letters to send out to corporate and prospective members of the WISE campaign – this was a different writing style to those which I have been exposed to previously so was a great skill to develop”, reflects Victoria. “Perhaps by biggest area of development during my placement was my self-confidence with regards to networking, and undertaking discussion with WISE members from a variety of different companies”, she continues. During Victoria’s placement she also gained a great deal of knowledge about how a national campaign like WISE is run with just a small team of staff, as well as experience in project management. She also gained a unique insight into how not-for-profit organisations are run and maintained.
For an independent evaluation of the People Like Me resources and information about WISE’s online platform, My Skills My Life, go to www.wisecampaign.org.uk