UKESF Scholar mentors Go4SET team during Qualcomm placement
Mara, UKESF Scholar 2014–17, is sponsored by Qualcomm and is studying for a BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Industrial Experience at the University of Manchester. During her placement she mentored a team of schoolchildren as part of the Go4SET South East competition, and reported back on the experience:
I was assigned a team of six 12–14-year-olds with different interests. The team was composed of four girls and two boys. We won the ‘Most Innovative’ prize with the idea of a smart watch that receives alerts/messages from teachers or members of the staff at the school and tells the students where they need to be. We came up with the idea when, during one of our weekly meetings, some of the team members were missing and we could not contact them since they are not allowed to use their phones at school.
To demonstrate the idea, the kids used the BBC Micro:bit that they programmed after we decided what it should contain. It was great to see how interested they were in the Micro:bit and how they were going to use it. I wish I had one when I was their age, it would have made my decision to study engineering easier.
I consider the experience beneficial for me and the kids. It was the first time I worked with younger people and it proved to be a very rewarding experience. Since they did not have much team work experience, I was also in charge of ensuring they were able to cooperate and communicate. They did not know each other before taking part in Go4SET and the two boys knew little English, therefore it was a challenging task.
We overcame the issues by setting a clear goal, by making sure everyone understood what was happening (this came in handy when the judges were asking them questions) and by making sure they communicated well enough outside of our meetings. I strongly believe that the kids found it to be a good experience and that this project changed their opinions about engineering: that it can also be fun and easy to understand the basics.
Find out more about Go4SET here.