Science is for everyone. Science is a beautiful life choice.
We are devoted to promoting science and getting as many people as possible engaged in science and we will do our best to encourage participation in STEM subjects. Together we can push the boundaries of our knowledge and make a significant contribution to humanity. (THS: Also it can be fun and the people are cool; ED: is this objective?)
Whether that is to encourage mature students to study STEM subjects; help people out after a career break, encourage retired people to continue to have an active involvement in science, or just to help people who got lost along the way. We have experience of this and know how it feels when you believe you have a lot to give but no-one will listen.
Encouraging Adults back to Science
'I think it's really important we don't write people off because they didn't get A's at A-level, didn't get the degree classification they would have liked, have had time away because of family, have developed interests and skills at a later stage, or just because of the randomness of life.
From experience many companies and universities won't be as forgiving, meaning you can feel like you are on the scrap heap at the start of your career. This is the situation I felt in after obtaining a 2:2 in Physics. I had excelled in some subjects but various circumstances meant I didn't feel I fulfilled my potential. After this I worked in a variety of 'non-skilled' jobs but always had the nagging belief I wanted to be a 'scientist'. I got lucky and got funding for MSc and then impressed enough to get a PhD. But no story is straightforward; I am still an underdog who wants to help other underdogs.
I also believe that there is often a bias against some people (an obvious example is in the way they communicate during interview) which we should do our best to be aware of and negate. References and job trials should be more prevalent.
I believe if you've got the desire to do something and an enthusiastic outlook (and if you're goals are reasonable) you can make things happen.
If the inquisitiveness and enthusiasm is there gaining relevant experimental and analytical skills is relatively easy in materials science- but training someone to have the right attitude and approach is not. And who wants to work for companies & Uni's with the opposite view anyway?'
This is not pie in the sky thinking or self-justification; we've had some great students who have come to science late or with a gap. Really glad they've got lucky like I did, but I think we should be doing more.
Science Needs Experience
'My parents retired at a young age, and although they may not want to follow the rat race, they still have so much to give to society. Importantly, they are just as capable as when they were working, but now have the time and inclination to do activities that are interesting to them and beneficial to society. My mum has become active in environmental campaigning and my dad has rediscovered his love of teaching and sports science. With improvements in health care we have an army of older people willing and able to make a big difference to society. They have the time and experience, but we need to make sure the resources are in place for them to persue their ambitions. And encourage them the benefits STEM subjects bring.'
*Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM, previously SMET) is an acronym that refers to the academic disciplines of science