I have just won a fantastic outreach project called I’m an Engineer Get Me Out of Here (IAEGMOOH ) and I wanted to share my experiences with you all in the hopes of encouraging you to take part as well. IAEGMOOH is an online outreach activity where school students interact with engineers through live chats and an online forum where they can ask anything. In the second week students vote for their favourite engineer to win a £500 prize to continue communicating their work with public. There is also a larger sister event called I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here. Over the two weeks 20 engineers engaged with a total of 7500 students, from Primary and Secondary schools all over the UK. The event is great fun and the kids ask insightful and often funny questions. It was clear to me that over the event the students started to understand more about our job roles and that we inspired a few to consider a career in engineering. I asked one primary school class if they wanted to be engineers and if so what kind. One child replied that when he grew up he wanted to be one like me. I have to admit my heart melted a little and it made the hard work worthwhile!
The event has benefits for the engineers involved as well, not just the students. It is a real challenge to answer complex scientific questions in a way students will understand, particularly when you are working at a fast pace in the live chats! I’m sure my communication skills have improved significantly and I’ve also learnt how Mammoth’s could be cloned from DNA in the future! The University has had a great deal of success with winning IAEGMOOH in the last year, with Zoe George from the School of Chemical Engineering, and Ditte Hedegaard from the School of Immunity and Infection. So I lay the gauntlet down to those of you with an interest in Science Communication to see if you can win the next event in June. If you think you might be up for it then the links below take you to my profile on the site and my “winner’s speech”. You can also contact me on email@example.com for more info and some winning tips!