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The STEM Hub

Extreme STEM Ambassadors

 February 28 2018 | Essex | Views: 729

“A key motivator in my desire to become a STEM Ambassador was following my daughter’s progress at primary school. It made me realise that there are areas in the school syllabus where there is the opportunity to help out and bring some real-world experience into the classroom. It’s been so rewarding visiting schools and working with groups to brainstorm ideas, explore STEM subjects and to encourage out-of-the-box thinking.” Extreme STEM Ambassador, Pete Sipple, Essex, 2016

Our hub is extremely fortunate to have several extreme ambassadors who work tirelessly in our schools and communities to challenge children’s thinking and support schools and youth centres to try new things and bring some of the realities of the exciting world of STEM to classroom and other spaces. Pete Sipple, from Essex is an incredible example of this. He is a powerful advocate for the STEM programme, works closely with us on all our programmes, but also contributes valuable ideas and expertise, inspires other ambassadors and constantly goes the extra mile to give children and young people the ultimate STEM experience. These ambassadors all show positive impact on individual children, we have reported case of students who have been working with Pete who as a result of his work are going to study engineering, we have cases where schools have grown and developed STEM clubs in schools as a result of the club Steve started and scouts and guides groups that have made his activities part of their annual programme. Through influence and engaging his professional networks, Steve’s role as ambassador has also had an impact across a range of sectors and elements of the SA programme, linking us with businesses and helping us grow our ambassador network. He is a role model to new ambassadors and has been able to offer us valuable feedback on the programme, his experience as a radio technologist is invaluable to us as it fills in a gap within technology education and allows children to have hands on experience:

“When I was at school in the early 80s, although I had an interest in science and physics, it was only when I started tinkering with electronics projects outside of school, that my passion for technology was ignited. We have a shortage of engineers, developers and scientists in the UK, and I feel that, through STEM, those with a passion for technology and science should go into schools and inspire the next generation. Teachers do an excellent job, but the benefits of support and participation by STEM Ambassadors from real-world industries can make a huge difference in igniting that passion early-on”, Pete Sipple, 2017

Pete’s story
Pete Sipple, aged 48, lives in Southend-on-Sea. Pete has spent much of his working life in the commercial radio industry, as an engineer and in the IT field. In his spare time, Pete presents an award-winning technology radio show, and is Chairman of an amateur radio club – a hobby that allows licenced radio enthusiasts to send radio messages around the world, and beyond! Pete has also worked for British computing firm Psion designing software for handheld computers, worked for Adobe, and has worked on large-scale projects for Nokia, Sky TV and Motorola.

Pete is in his third year of volunteering as STEM Ambassador, and has had the opportunity to work with one primary and two secondary schools, a young carer’s group, and several scout and guide groups. As he says, technology is all around us, and whilst youngsters are excellent at using today’s tech, such as smartphones and tablets, very few understand how they work. He is from a broadcast radio background and have grown up with radio. Wi-fi, Bluetooth and 4G are all wireless technologies that we take for granted, and being a STEM Ambassador has given him the chance to educate and demonstrate some of the principles behind this technology. He’s helped three schools to listen in to a British astronaut on the International Space Station, worked with a group using radio to track a high-altitude balloon, helped a STEM Engineering Club team to build a radio-direction-finding tracker, and other groups beam messages into space. Hopefully, he believes he has helped to inspire tomorrow’s generation to understand the importance of radio and technology in our daily lives.

Pete’s Impact
Pete has worked closely with staff at Westcliffe High School for Girls in Essex helping them take their ideas for analysing steps to an implemented design. This is a competition that is entered year on year and as Sharon Parkin, Head of D&T at the school confirms the STEM club has doubled in size since the big win. As well as inspiring secondary students, Pete’s work at Primary levels and across many scouts and brownie clubs in his local area is ensuring his message and the experience of STEM is reaching as many children as he can:

“Our pupils have been fascinated by Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space station. Working with Pete was a wonderful opportunity for them to find out more about what his life is like in space and also to learn about communicating using different technologies. Perhaps it might even inspire some of them to consider amateur radio as a new hobby!” Jacqueline Atkinson, Deputy Head of St. Michael’s School, Leigh, 2016


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