Advocating for Girls in Science - ‘Greenlight for Girls’ Visits Pembroke

3rd March 2017

Greenlight for Girls (g4g) promotes the study of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) amongst girls of all ages and backgrounds. The organisation collaborated with the University of Oxford Physics Department to launch the first ever g4g Day in Oxford, which took place on 25th February 2017 at Pembroke College. This was a day full of interactive, hands-on fun based around STEM subjects. One hundred girls aged 11-14 from local schools were invited to participate.

Whilst here, the girls heard from a number of successful women in their respective fields, each of whom have developed a career in a STEM area. They also received a tour of the College and had lunch in the Dining Hall.  

The line-up of engaging panel speakers included: Daniela Bortoletto, Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Oxford; Merritt Moore, ballet dancer and PhD candidate in Atomic and Laser Physics at the University of Oxford; Emma Parker, Trainee Clinical Scientist in Radiotherapy Physics at Churchill Hospital; Melissa Rancourt, Engineer, Entrepreneur and Founder of Greenlight for Girls; and Pembroke’s very own Francesca Webb, who is in her second year of Physics.

Delivering a welcome speech on the day, the Master of the College, Dame Lynne Brindley, commented on the importance of women pursuing their dreams of a career in science. She said:

Set your own sights high, believe in yourselves and your abilities, study what excites you, go for it and fulfil your dreams.’ 

Professor Alfons Weber, Fellow and Tutor in Physics and Rokos-Clarendon Fellow in Physics at Pembroke, commented:

‘There are many STEM subjects where girls and women are under-represented. We want to change this! There are no reasons that they can’t enjoy and succeed doing physics, maths, engineering… and more. It is quite stunning to see so many young girls interested in science and I want to help in making sure they don’t lose their curiosity and consider taking this up as a profession in the future.’

The girls’ morning at Pembroke was followed by hands-on workshops in the Physics Department of the University. The day-long event was a great success; the organisers’ vision is that as the girls continue their studies in STEM and start to think about their future career paths, they will understand how science is connected to everything and that it is relevant to their future, whatever they go on to do.