I always enjoyed all of the STEM subjects at school particularly maths and biology. My interest and enjoyment for biology was in part due to my love of watching natural history programmes, particularly those from Sir David Attenborough and Steve Irwin ‘The Crocodile Hunter’. After leaving school I went onto study psychology with a focus on biology. I completed my degree although realised that it was probably not what I wanted to do as a career and ended up going to work for a regeneration agency in Drumchapel, which I loved! I had the opportunity to work with young people from challenging backgrounds and support them into entering a positive destination on leaving school. I enjoyed it so much that I went back to university to study primary teaching in order to offer nurture and support to those that need it most. I had far too many subjects that I enjoyed at school to have been able to choose just one so I felt this was a great opportunity to teach and learn a variety of subjects on a daily basis.
With my classes I always preferred facilitating more practical and investigative types of learning and teaching, which the STEM subjects lend themselves extremely well too. I had the opportunity to further develop my STEM skills by attending a number of professional learning events and then used this to organise and deliver CLPL within my own school. This then lead to my role now of Primary Science Development Officer (PSDO) for Glasgow City Council. I am now 1 of 13 PSDO’s based across Scotland as part of the Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) programme funded by the Wood Foundation. This has provided me with a great opportunity to develop, deliver and support STEM education within Glasgow. Science and STEM do not need to be over complicated areas of the curriculum they can be fun, engaging and most importantly a valuable and necessary learning experience.
Growing up I was constantly building things. I loved investigating how things worked and trying to replicate them at home with any materials that I could get my hands on. To me, there was nothing better than designing and making a really complex model, so it’s no wonder that I loved Design and Technology and Art at school. These subjects allowed me to combine my creative flair with engineering and I took both all the way to Advanced Higher level. I knew that I wanted to do something with them in my career and I considered lots of different options but finally settled on studying Technological Education at the University of Glasgow. This course was really unique as it combined a vast range of subjects like product design, CAD modelling and how we use technology in our everyday lives. I picked up so much from this but the most valuable thing that I learned is that I wanted to help others develop their design and technology skills.
On leaving university I went straight into Secondary Teaching and delivered classes in Woodwork, Graphics and Design and Manufacture. I knew that I wanted to offer my pupils more so I started up the school’s first STEM club. We ran activities for all year groups, set up work placements and were even nominated of the national club of the year. I loved how STEM brought so many opportunities to young people and showed them that they were capable of far more than they ever imagined. I wanted a chance to do this on a much larger scale so I went for a job as Glasgow’s STEM Development Officer. Through this I’ve been able to bring STEM activities hundreds of pupils across Glasgow and even train other members of staff. I am always amazed at how much success STEM has brought to my life and to the pupils that I work with!
My love of all things STEM started when I was small and dreamt of being a vet. In the garden I’d look for worms and bugs to study under a magnifying glass and on holiday would spend hours with my brother and sister fishing in rock pools to see what we could find. I used to be obsessed with watching animal rescue programmes and like Alex, tuned in weekly to see what adventures Steve Irwin and his crocodiles had been up to. One night my dream of being a vet came to an abrupt end when I watched an episode of Rural Pet Rescue that involved a vet wearing a glove all the way up to their shoulder. In that moment I decided being a vet wasn’t for me!
I really enjoyed school and would have struggled to pick my favourite subject. I loved learning about other cultures and political systems in Modern Studies, putting on performances in Drama and carrying out practical investigations in Biology. When it came to choosing subjects for my Highers, I decided to study a mix of English, STEM and Social Studies Subjects as I knew this would help keep my options open for what to do next. I ended up leaving school after 5th year and went to university to study Law. Five years after graduating and lots of different jobs later, I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the PGDE for Primary Education and began the career I love. I truly believe there is no wrong path.
As a primary teacher I always tried to make learning fun and relevant. I loved planning and delivering IDL STEM lessons and enjoyed the buzz and excited discussions that STEM based practical activities created. I was responsible for leading STEM, planned whole school STEM weeks and worked in partnership with local employers to enhance our curriculum and secure funding. I really enjoyed supporting other teachers to feel more confident delivering STEM lessons and regularly delivered CLPL sessions. Later I became a support for inclusion teacher working with children across the mainstream and LCR and this where I learnt just how inclusive STEM is.
In 2018 I applied to be one of Alex and Hannah’s Primary STEM Leaders and loved the experience so much that I knew I wanted to join the team and help deliver engaging CLPL to other teachers. Last year STEM Glasgow received Education Scotland funding to expand the PSL network into three other local authorities from the West Partnership and I was lucky enough to join the team!