When ScienceGrrl made our 2013 calendar, we did so with the aim of raising funds for something tangible that would encourage young people – particularly girls – to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. A couple of weeks ago, ScienceGrrl finally realised this ambition when we funded a team of six (4 girls, 2 boys) from Oaklands School in Tower Hamlets to Mission Discovery summer school at Kings College, London.

The six students took on the role of real research scientists, and formulated an idea for a biomedical experiment to be carried out in space! They worked with astronauts, astronaut trainers, scientists and NASA leaders to come up with a novel research proposition and present it to the whole group. Their idea was to investigate an alternative method of pain relief in space.

We’re very proud of our young ScienceGrrls, but don’t just take our word for it, here is how they got on:

Tamam: “Over the course of 5 days in mission discovery I have gained invaluable knowledge. Gaining insight of how structure and systems we take for granted whilst also learning of the effect on space and in microgravity. This has made me much more inquisitive and open to all possibilities and changes. I’d have to say that my favourite moment was the circulatory lecture purely as it taught me a variety of different things. It has also prepared us for lectures. It truly feels like we are real university students with the way we are treated and taught. It’s nice to be challenged. I’d recommend it to everyone.”

Ayesha: “The five days I spent at Kings College taking part in the Mission Discovery course were very informative and challenging; the ISSET team were wonderful host and held great lectures. I would recommend this course to many other Oaklands students, it takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes you to do more. Thanks to ScienceGrrl for making this happen for us.”

Sharmin: “I had a great time on this five day course and believe I’ve gained a lot more skills and experience. I also like that it was challenging as well as having to compete with older students. My favourite part of the course was the cardiovascular lecture which I found extremely interesting and it left me wanting to find out more. Mission Discovery gives you a taste of university whilst also encouraging students into the physics field. Overall, I feel privileged to be able to have this opportunity and believe it’s made me more confident.”

Naeema: “I really enjoyed the five days I spent here with ISSET because it was really cool and it was pretty interesting. I also learnt a lot of stuff like; your heart decreases by 20% if you stay in space for too long. Also, the lectures were pretty good and even though we were the youngest people there and everyone else was 18-19 years old, I felt comfortable. Overall it was a really good experience and I am really happy that I took advantage of this opportunity and took part in it.”

Astronaut Ken Ham with ScienceGrrls Anna Zecharia and Ellie Cosgrave

Astronaut Ken Ham with ScienceGrrls Anna Zecharia and Ellie Cosgrave

Dr Ellie Cosgrave

Dr Ellie Cosgrave

Ellie is a Research Associate at UCL's department for Science Technology Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP). Her work, part of the Liveable Cities research programme, focuses on how information technology changing cities across the world. Ellie is passionate about broadening access to Engineering and believes that diversity in Engineering is the cornerstone to solving some of the world’s greatest and most complex challenges. She also makes sure there is time in her week for music and dancing!
Dr Ellie Cosgrave
Dr Ellie Cosgrave

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Dr Ellie Cosgrave